Less than a month after he was sworn in, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister
Rami Hamdallah on Thursday abruptly submitted his resignation to President
PA officials in Ramallah said Abbas would decide in the
coming hours whether to accept the resignation.
Hamdallah, who until
recently was president of An- Najah University in Nablus, offered his
resignation even though Palestinians were still publishing advertisements in the
media congratulating him and his new ministers.
A source close to
Hamdallah said he submitted his letter of resignation to Hussein al- A’raj,
director of the PA president’s bureau.
The source attributed the move to
a power struggle between Hamdallah and his two deputies – Muhammad Mustafa and
Ziad Abu Amr – who were appointed by Abbas.
“The prime minister feels
that his deputies have been encroaching on his powers,” the source
After submitting his resignation Hamdallah left his office in
Ramallah alone and drove in his private car to his home in the village of
Anabta, east of Tulkarm.
A senior PA official told the Bethlehem-based
Ma’an News Agency that Hamdallah had not clashed with Abbas. The real dispute
was between Hamdallah and his two deputies, the official said.
Thursday evening, senior PA officials headed from Ramallah to Hamdallah’s home
to persuade him to withdraw his resignation.
Another PA source said that
Hamdallah, whom Abbas appointed on June 2, quickly found himself in the same
situation as his predecessor Salam Fayyad.
“Hamdallah discovered that the
Palestinian Authority president wants him to serve as a yes-man with no powers,”
the source explained. “Abbas wanted a prime minister who would play no role and
only carry out orders from the president’s office.”
Abbas’s decision to
appoint two deputy prime ministers with expanded powers to the new government
was the first sign of the PA president’s intention to curtail the powers of
Some Palestinians pointed out that the real prime minister was
Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Muhammad Mustafa, who also serves as
the director of the PLO’s Palestine Investment Fund.
initially reported to be Abbas’s favored candidate to replace Fayyad. It remains
unclear why Abbas finally preferred Hamdallah over Mustafa.
quit because he was lacking any authority,” said Palestinian political analyst
Hani al-Masri. “He discovered that he was just another employee with the rank of
prime minister. He had two deputies who were in charge of the political and
Masri said the swift resignation was an indication
of the deep crisis plaguing the PA’s political system.
Muhammad Dahlan, a
member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a former PA security
commander, said he was not surprised by Hamdallah’s decision to
Dahlan, often described as an arch-enemy of Abbas, said the
resignation showed that the PA leadership in Ramallah was determined to
“reproduce the same mistakes.”
Dahlan predicted that any new prime
minister would also fail as long as Abbas refused to share powers with anyone.