Atul Aneja

DUBAI: Invoking emergency provisions, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has sworn in a new Government that is backed by Israel and the United States. The new Cabinet does not include any members of the Hamas, which has been engaged in pitched battles with Mr. Abbas' Fatah party.

Salam Fayyad was sworn in as the new Prime Minister under a presidential decree issued by Mr. Abbas. Mr. Abbas ensured that Fatah heavyweights are not part of the new Government.

Once it became evident that the new Cabinet would not include Hamas members, Israel announced that a fresh opportunity for peace had been created. The United States, on its part, also said that obstacles in the path of engaging the Palestinian Government had been eliminated.

A statement by a Hamas spokesman promptly said Mr. Abbas was "involved in the U.S.-Israeli conspiracy, along with some Arab parties, to bring down the Hamas movement".

With rival camps now ruling the Palestinian territories, a humanitarian crisis is looming over Gaza's 1.3 million residents. Israeli fuel company Dor Alon announced it had snapped all fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip with the exception of an electricity generation plant. The move is likely to trigger petrol and cooking gas shortages. Food and other essential supplies in Gaza are already running low.