Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh gestures during a rally marking the 31st anniversary of Hamas' founding.
(photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)
Hamas on Monday praised several Palestinian factions for their refusal to join a new Palestinian Authority government.
“The refusal of major PLO factions to participate in the new government is a step in the right direction to stop the policy of singularity and to affirm that there is no alternative to partnership and national consensus,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.
His statement came in response to the announcement by a number of PLO factions, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) the and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), that they will not be part of the new government. The groups said that the formation of such a government would solidify the divide between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Last week, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah submitted his government’s resignation
to President Mahmoud Abbas. The move came shortly after the Fatah Central Committee recommended that Abbas establish a new government consisting of PLO factions and independent personalities.
On Monday, the PFLP called on Fatah to abandon the idea of forming a new government and to focus its efforts instead on achieving “national unity” among the Palestinians. The group said that the formation of the government would intensify the crisis in the Palestinian arena and “undermine Palestinian efforts to confront challenges and threats.”
Majed al-Fetyani, a senior Fatah official, said that his faction has concluded consultations with various Palestinian factions and figures regarding the establishment of a new government.
Hamdallah said on Monday that intensive consultations were underway to form a government whose main task would be to end the Hamas-Fatah rift.
Palestinian sources said it was still unclear who would head the new PA government. The list of names of several senior Fatah officials who have been mentioned as potential candidates to replace Hamdallah is not final, the sources said. Among the candidates whose names are being mentioned are Mohammed Shtayyeh, Azzam al-Ahmed, Jibril Rajoub and Saeb Erekat.
A PA official in Ramallah said that Abbas is expected to announce the new prime minister in the coming days.
In a related development, the Qatari online newspaper Al-Khaleej Online said that some Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, were interfering in the consultations over the formation of a new PA government. Abbas wants such a government to win the backing of Arabs, Israel and the international community, the newspaper quoted unnamed senior Palestinian officials as saying.
“He wants to overcome any obstacles that could hinder the establishment of a new government.”
The report claimed that the Arab countries have urged Abbas to include ministers in his government who would be acceptable to Israel and the US in order to facilitate its work.