Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged the new government "to fight the [Israeli] occupation with all legal means".
Newly appointed Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh speaks at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 10, 2019.
The 18th Palestinian government since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1995 was sworn in according to a presidential decree issued by Abbas, a move at a time when prospects for a peace deal with Israel are possibly at their lowest point ever. Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and Finance Minister Shukri Bishara will continue in their positions.
The new government consists of 24 ministers from the Palestine Liberation Organization, or PLO, Abbas' Fatah Party, the Palestinian People's Party, the FIDA party and the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front, in addition to independent figures.
However, fighting between Hamas and Fatah, alongside Israeli action against the Palestinian government, led to open conflict, allowing the former to take control of the Gaza Strip.
Shtayyeh's immediate challenge is to shore up the cash-strapped PA, which exercises limited self-rule under interim peace accords with Israel.
The PA has been squeezed by steep U.S. aid cuts, with the crisis exacerbated by a dispute with Israel over the withholding of some 5 percent of the monthly tax revenues it transfers to the Authority. The PA has refused to accept any tax transfers until those funds are restored. "We are waiting, because the Israeli elections are over and we are ready to talk".
The letter that was signed by 25 former foreign ministers, six former prime ministers, and two former North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary generals, calls for a two-state solution in which Israel and Palestinian states live side by side. The peace process has all but collapsed and Israel has expanded its settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank despite global objections.
During a meeting, the Palestinian president stressed "the Palestinian cause is passing through hard circumstances, but the Palestinian people and their leadership are on a level of responsibility".