Islamist movement Hamas was set to win parliamentary approval for its first government after incoming Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniya spelt out its policy platform.
The session was to begin at around 11:00 am (0900 GMT) with a debate on the government's programme before a vote of confidence, considered little more than a formality given Hamas's huge parliamentary majority.
Haniya, whose hardline group has carried out dozens of suicide bombings in Israel over the last decade, stressed Monday the Palestinians were entitled to continue the ‘struggle’ for independence but also spoke of his desire to hold talks with international players, including Washington, to end the conflict with the Jewish state.
Parliament had been due to approve the new 24-member cabinet, which is dominated by Hamas leaders and includes only a smattering of independents, on Monday but the number of MPs wanting to speak forced a delay.
‘Our government will spare no effort to reach a just peace in the region, putting an end to the occupation and restoring out rights,’ Haniya told MPs.
‘We have never been supporters of war, terrorism or bloodletting. Instead it is the Israeli occupation that waged all forms of terrorism against our people in chasing them out of their homeland, besieging it and starving it.’
Yet his rejection of international demands to respect past peace agreements drew a swift warning from Israel that it would have no choice but fix its borders unilaterally if the incoming government sustained Haniya's policy.
The Hamas-dominated administration may take office as early as Wednesday, two months after the Islamist movement's landslide victory in a parliamentary election on January 25 that sent shockwaves through Israel and the West.
Israel has refused to deal with a Hamas-led government and has imposed sanctions, including travel restrictions, which forced Haniya to deliver the speech to the Ramallah-based parliament via video-link from its Gaza branch.
But while holding off any suggestion of negotiating with Israel, Haniya welcomed the prospect of continued international involvement in the peace process, in particular from the so-called Middle East quartet.
The quartet -- the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States -- is the sponsor of the largely moribund roadmap peace plan which aims for the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel.
Both the United States and European Union have threatened to slash funding to the Palestinian Authority unless Hamas recognises Israel, commits itself to non-violence and respects past international agreements.
Israel warned that the incoming government's policy would leave it no choice but to declare Palestinian areas enemy territory and seal them off.
‘We will disconnect Gaza from the West Bank and will consider all crossings into those areas as if they are with an enemy state,’ said Raanan Gissin, spokesman for the prime minister's office.
Although Tuesday's vote of confidence should be a formality, Hamas has struggled to garner broad-based support. Only a smattering of independents have agreed to join the cabinet, including one Christian, Joudeh Morqos, who is tourism minister.