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Gaza ministers sworn in via video conference

June 12, 2014 10:30 P.M. (Updated: June 15, 2014 11:19 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Four ministers of the Palestinian unity government from the Gaza Strip were sworn-in through video conference on Thursday after having been refused entry to the West Bank by Israeli authorities.

The ministers had previously applied for permission to cross from Gaza to the West Bank for the swearing-in ceremony earlier this month, but Israel reportedly refused their request.

As a result, all four ministers had to be sworn in via video conference in the presence of President Mahmoud Abbas.

Minister of Public Works Mufeed al Hasayneh told Ma'an that the ministers were sworn in at 6 p.m. through a video call made from the PLO office in Gaza.

In addition to al-Hasayneh, the ministers from Gaza include Minister of Women's Affairs Haifa al-Agha, Minister of Labor Mamoun Abu Shahla, Minister of Justice Salim al-Saqqa, and Mufeed al-Hasayneh.

Israel has threatened sanctions on the Palestinian Authority since late April, when a historic decision was reached between the two largest Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah to come together to form a unity government after seven years of political division.

Israel opposed the move as it refuses to negotiate with Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organization. The PA, however, has insisted that all agreements it had previously made, including the recognition of Israel, would be respected under the new government.
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