Abbas and Hamdallah 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah retracted his resignation on Friday evening, after a meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, a PA official told the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency.
The two met after attempts on Thursday night by Abbas's top aide to persuade Hamdallah not to resign were unsuccessful.
Hamdallah abruptly submitted his resignation on Thursday after less than a month on the job.
Despite confirmation from the PA source, an official announcement has not been issued yet, and Hamdallah did not talk to any of the reporters waiting outside the meeting, Ma'an reported.
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 said.
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 Ma’an that Hamdallah had not clashed with Abbas. The real dispute was between Hamdallah and his two deputies, the official said.
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 Hamdallah.
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.
Mustafa was initially reported to be Abbas’s favored candidate to replace Fayyad. It remains unclear why Abbas finally preferred Hamdallah over Mustafa.
“Hamdallah 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 economic portfolios.”
Masri said the swift resignation was an indication of the deep crisis plaguing the PA’s political system.