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New Palestinian PM to build govt

Palestinian PM-designate Rami Hamdallah hopes to form his West Bank-based government this week.

Newly appointed Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, arrives for a visit to the West Bank city of Nablus on 4 June 2013. Picture: AFP

RAMALLAH - Palestinian Prime Minister-designate Rami Hamdallah said on Tuesday he hoped to form his West Bank-based government this week but was committed to implementing a power-sharing deal with Gaza's Hamas rulers.

"I am a man of unity, and division is a crime against the Palestinian people and it must end. There is nothing we should differ about. Unity is our way to get rid of the Israeli occupation," Hamdallah told reporters.

Hamdallah, a political independent and linguistics professor, was named on Sunday by Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas to replace Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who quit in April but remained in his post while a successor was sought.

"Consultations have begun and hopefully the government will be announced on Thursday," Hamdallah, who under Palestinian law has up to six weeks to establish one, said in his hometown of Nablus in the occupied West Bank.

He said most members of Fayyad's cabinet would remain in office as part of what he described as an interim administration until a unity government is formed with Hamas.

Fayyad, a former World Bank official credited with building Palestinian institutions needed to gain independence from Israel, resigned over an economic crisis caused by cuts in Western funds and Israeli freezes on money transfers over unilateral Palestinian moves on statehood.

Hamas has called Hamdallah's appointment illegal and said Abbas should have focused instead on ending the internal Palestinian divide.