The new Palestinian Authority government was sworn in before PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Thursday.

The 24-member government, headed by Rami Hamdallah, is the 15th since the establishment of the PA nearly two decades ago.

Hamdallah’s government has two deputy prime ministers: Ziad Abu Amr, an independent politician from the Gaza Strip, and Muhammad Mustafa, director of the PLO’s Palestine Investment Fund.

In addition to Abu Amr and Mustafa, six new ministers joined the government: Shukri Bishara as Finance Minister, Ali Abu Zuhri as Education Minister, Kamal al-Sharafi as Social Welfare Minister, Jawad Awwad as Health Minister, Nabil Smaidi as Transportation Minister, and Saed al-Kawni as Minister for Local Government.

The remaining ministries will continue to be run by those ministers who served in outgoing Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s government.

They include Foreign Affairs Minister Riad Malki, Interior Minister Said Abu Ali, Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Adnan Husseini, Labor Minister Ahmed Majdalani and Minister for Wakf Affairs Mahmoud Habbash.

Abbas said during the swearing-in ceremony that the new government was his government and that he would fully support it in carrying out its duties “to achieve the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

“Our mission is difficult and we must face the difficulties with determination and unity,” Abbas said.

He added that this government was supposed to be a national unity government with Hamas. “But what happened was that we still haven’t reached agreement with Hamas on holding new elections.”

“Once we agree with Hamas, we will form a new government consisting of technocrats and independent figures,” Abbas said.

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