Minor reshuffle of Palestinian government angers Hamas

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas announced a minor cabinet reshuffle Monday

Published: Updated:

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas announced a minor cabinet reshuffle Monday, naming three new ministers to the national unity government in a move denounced by the Islamist Hamas group in Gaza.

The official Wafa news agency said cabinet secretary Ali Abu Diak will take the justice portfolio, while Ehab Bseiso, currently government spokesman, becomes culture minister and Ibrahim al-Shaer social affairs minister.

Prime minister Rami Hamdallah has sought to seal reconciliation between Hamas, which seized the Gaza Strip by force in 2007, and the Palestinian Authority based in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

But attempts to proceed with a unity deal signed last year have fizzled out, with Ramallah accusing Gaza of running a rival administration and Hamas accusing the PA of abandoning the blockaded coastal enclave.

Ziad al-Zaza, a senior Hamas leader, quickly denounced the reshuffle announcement, calling it "a move which takes the national consensus and Palestinian reconciliation a lot further away".

Zaza told AFP that Abbas should not "exacerbate divisions by not respecting the participation" of everyone in government.

"We don't recognise them as new ministers, and we will not have contacts with them as ministers," he added.