However, no presidential decree has been issued yet regarding the formation of the new government, nor has the presidency set a date for new elections, which the parties agreed should be held within six months. Failure to do both is unconstitutional.Consultations on forming the new government are not being carried out by the prime minister designate (neither president Mahmud Abbas as the designated prime minister according to the Doha declaration, nor when Abbas asked Rami al-Hamdallah to lead the new government) but by Fateh representative Azzam al-Ahmad and Hamas’s Musa Abu Marzouq. The next prime minister will receive a readymade cabinet.Of course, President Abbas will have the final say, for the government is ‘his government,’ its program is his, and it will be he who ratifies its formation. Also, the new government will not seek a vote of confidence by the Palestine Legislative Assembly (PLC) as stated in the constitution, but by the president. According to the Shati [Hamas/Fateh] agreement, the PLC will only be called into session one month after the new government is formed.There have been conflicting statements about whether the PLC should hold a vote of confidence in the new government. I believe that is unlikely, given the fact that the whole reason the PLC would not be called into session until a month has passed on the formation of the new government is to create a positive climate conducive to its formation. Subjecting the government to a vote of confidence by the PLC opens the way for the Hamas-dominated legislature to withhold confidence from the entire cabinet or certain ministers, and gives the Islamist movement undue leverage over the new cabinet should it wish to obstruct its formation. Another reason why the government will seek confidence from the president and not from the PLC is to prevent the U.S. congress from exerting pressure on the administration to stop financial aid to the PA. U.S. law precludes granting aid to governments that include “terrorist” organizations such as Hamas.These violations of the Palestinian basic law (constitution) are explained as being necessary for the national interest as represented by the process of reconciliation. Reconciliation, it is said, takes precedence over the constitution, which was one of the earliest victims of the split between Fateh and Hamas. This situation is set to continue until the institutions of state, including the judiciary, government departments, and security services are reunified.The national interest should indeed take precedence over all else, but on condition that the process of reconciliation is genuine and not merely a power-sharing arrangement between two or more parties. But even this does not justify all the constitutional violations that have taken place. Is it against the national interest for the president to have issued a decree asking the prime minister designate to form a new government, outline its aims and objectives, and the values it should uphold?Such a decree would have allowed the prime minister designate to consult with parliamentary blocks, civil society, and the private sector about the composition of the new government to ensure that it complies with the law. It is said that members of the new government were not even asked about their readiness to assume their posts because they were already asked in 2012.Fateh Central Committee members, the PFLP, and DFLP all said that they did not take part in consultations about forming the new government. In fact, the factions only played the role of facilitator. They had no real influence on the bilateral (al-Ahmed-Abu Marzouq) consultations. The public have meanwhile been kept in the dark, wondering whether Abbas or Hamdallah would lead the new government. The reason for this vagueness is the fact that the reconciliation is merely a bridge used by Fateh and Hamas to deal with their individual crises, rather than a means to create the best possible conditions to deal with the challenges facing the Palestinian cause.In addition, the PA is held hostage by unfair agreements and by aid with unfair conditions (commitment to the unjust conditions of the international quartet). Any step taken by the PA is thus necessarily judged by its ability to evade those conditions, which cannot lead to independence and self-determination. In this context, the Shati agreement and all subsequent steps must be judged by whether they would consolidate the status quo (merely improving the lives of Palestinians under occupation), or whether they could chart a new course that ends the occupation, and achieve independence, statehood, and self-determination for all Palestinians, not only those living in the West Bank and Gaza.If reports that the PFLP has been dismissed from the PLO and its monthly stipend curtailed (because its delegation walked out at the last session of the Central Council in protest at a decision to resume peace talks) prove to be true, then that would be a serious and unprecedented development. Its timing is also controversial, coming as it did just as the reconciliation process is gaining traction with the promise of genuine national unity on the basis of real political partnership.It must be made clear that taking part in the PA – and particularly in presidential and legislative elections – does not mean that the parties involved automatically endorse the Oslo agreement and its results as some pretend. It is an inalienable right. While it reflects a degree of acceptance of the status quo, participation could either mean an endorsement of Oslo or conversely a legal and peaceful way of evading its commitments.As long as there is no condition that every election candidate must endorse Oslo (which would be totally undemocratic), no one has the right to accuse all PLC members of concurring with the agreement at a time when most publicly reject it. The only reason those members cannot act on their rejection is the fact that the PA is held hostage to agreements and aid packages, which makes renouncing Oslo a very difficult – but nevertheless necessary – proposition. While renouncing Oslo cannot be achieved in one fell swoop, it has to be done gradually, as soon as possible, and with the least possible cost.All of which necessitates a thorough review of all past experiences in order to draw lessons and put in place appropriate strategies (to which elections should be subordinated) for national liberation.