Palestinian ministers sworn in again after oath foul-up

Palestinian ministers sworn in again after oath foul-up

Ramallah: Palestinian government ministers were sworn in for a second time on Sunday after a lawyer noticed that the oath they took the day before had been missing a phrase.

Lawyer Nael Al-Hawah spotted the omission after Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh’s new government was sworn in before president Mahmud Abbas on Saturday.

The oath had dropped a clause where ministers swear to be loyal “to the people and its national heritage”, the lawyer said.

“I noticed the error and I posted a status update on Facebook,” he told AFP.

Shtayyeh called Al-Hawah to acknowledge the error and inform him that the oath would be repeated in its entirety on Sunday, he said.

Official Palestinian news agency WAFA said the oath was indeed repeated, adding that the mistake had been caused by a “typing error.”

Al-Hawah said he was familiar with the vow having closely followed Palestinian governments and because it was part of his teaching for law trainees.

He said the error could have placed the government’s legality in doubt.

According to WAFA, the full oath reads: “I swear by Almighty God to be loyal to the homeland and its sanctities, to the people and its national heritage, to respect the constitutional order and the law, and to take full care of the interests of the Palestinian people.”

The new ministers took office following a change of government that several analysts said was made to further isolate Hamas, at odds with the Fatah party of Abbas for more than a decade.

Abbas, 84, is seen as retaining the real decision-making authority.

While his term was meant to expire in 2009, Abbas has remained in office in the absence of elections since the Fatah-Hamas split.

The Palestinian Authority government is based in the occupied West Bank, while Islamist movement Hamas rules the Gaza Strip.

Hamas said in a statement that the new government “resorts to unilateralism and monopoly of power.”

The new appointments “widen the Palestinian division at the expense of the Palestinian people’s interests,” it said, calling for a unity government that includes Hamas.

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