Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accepted PA Prime Minister Rami
Hamdallah’s resignation on Sunday, announced Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for
the PA presidency.
Abu Rudaineh said that Abbas asked Hamdallah to serve
as caretaker until a new prime minister is sworn in.
his resignation to Abbas last Thursday, less than three weeks after he succeeded
former PA prime minister Salam Fayyad. Since then, Abbas and Hamdallah tried to
resolve the crisis, but to no avail.
Hamdallah resigned in protest
against the appointment by Abbas of two deputy prime ministers with expanded
authorities: Muhammad Mustafa and Ziad Abu Amr. On Friday, Hamdallah agreed to
withdraw his resignation after meeting with Abbas in Ramallah for nearly two
But the following day, Hamdallah insisted that his deputies be
removed or have their powers cut as a precondition for taking back the
resignation, a PA official said.
Hamdallah’s demand reportedly angered
Abbas, who decided to accept the resignation and search for another prime
minister, the official said.
Hamdallah’s decision to step down caught
Abbas and the PA leadership by surprise.
Another PA official told The
Jerusalem Post that there was “no reason” for Hamdallah to resign.
day one, Hamdallah knew that this was the government of President Abbas,” the
official said. “Hamdallah agreed to have two deputy prime ministers and declared
after he was sworn in that he acknowledged that this was the government of
The official admitted that Hamdallah’s resignation – 18
days after assuming office – had embarrassed Abbas and the PA
A Twitter account under the name of Hamdallah quoted him as
saying: “The situation in this country forced me to resign. Conflicts,
confusion, corruption. Palestine needs a real political reform.” However, the
Palestinian Government Media Center claimed that Hamdallah does not have a
The Palestinian news agency Ma’an quoted a “senior and
informed source” as saying that Abbas had provided the new PA government from
the beginning with a “political cover.” The source said Abbas had not spared any
effort to “provide the government with all the elements of
According to the source, the issue of the PA prime minister’s
powers are “nonnegotiable because matters are clear and the PLO has its duties
and missions while the government has its own duties and
Hassan Khraisheh, deputy speaker for the Palestinian
Legislative Council and a longtime critic of the PA leadership, said that there
was no point in having a prime minister “at a time when President Abbas has a
monopoly over all the executive branch’s authorities.”
that the real reason Hamdallah resigned was because he discovered the prime
minister has no power.
“The presence of two deputy prime ministers, who
are friends of President Abbas, means that the prime minister is a powerless
figure,” he explained. Khraisheh said that Hamdallah’s resignation and the
controversy over the prime minister’s authorities “confirm that there is a deep
crisis” in the PA’s governance style.
Jamal Muhaissen, a senior Fatah
official, told the Quds Net news agency that it would be better if Abbas himself
headed the government within the framework of a national reconciliation
agreement with Hamas.
He said that if Fatah and Hamas fail to reach an
agreement, the next prime minister would be from the Fatah Central
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Hamdallah’s
resignation reflected the “state of confusion in the Palestinian Authority,” and
the only way to resolve the crisis is by implementing reconciliation agreements
reached between Fatah and Hamas.