Palestinian unity government to be formed Monday
The formation of a Palestinian unity government backed by rivals Hamas and Fatah will be announced Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday, adding that Israel already warned him it would take punitive steps against the new alliance.
The formation of the government would be the most significant step yet toward ending a crippling seven-year-old Palestinian political split. However, it is also bound to increase friction between Abbas and Israel’s hard-line government.
Abbas said Saturday that he would respond to any Israeli punitive measures, such as withholding the monthly transfer of some $100 million in taxes and customs Israel collects on behalf of his Palestinian Authority. The funds are vital to keeping the self-rule government afloat.
The long-running Hamas-Fatah rivalry escalated in 2007 when the Islamic militant group Hamas seized the Gaza Strip from the internationally backed Abbas in 2007.
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) —