Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah resigns

It was not immediately clear whether PA President Mahmoud Abbas had accepted the resignation of Hamdallah.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah resigns, January 29, 2019 (Reuters)
Two PLO groups announced that they will not participate in a new Palestinian Authority government because it will deepen divisions among Palestinians, consolidating the split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The announcement on Tuesday came shortly after Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah submitted the resignation of his government to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas later accepted the resignation and said he will begin consultations to form a new government, which will consist of PLO factions whose goal would be to prepare for new parliamentary elections.
“President Abbas has accepted the resignation and entrusted the government to serve as a caretaker government until the formation of a new one,” said a statement issued by the PA president’s office on Tuesday evening.
Hamdallah said that his government will continue to carry out its duties and responsibilities until the establishment of a new one. He also expressed hope that consultations with Palestinian groups over the formation of a new government would be successful and end quickly.
However, the PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) said that they will not be part of a government that “solidifies divisions among” the Palestinians.
Miriam Abu Dakka, a senior PFLP official, said that the PLO, and not Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction, was the only party authorized to make a decision on the formation of a new Palestinian government.
“Fatah is one of the factions of the PLO, and as such it is not entitled to make a decision alone,” she said. “The PFLP will not participate in a government that solidifies the division. Our goal is to end the division and thwart the deal of the century.”
The “deal of the century” refers to US President Donald Trump’s soon-to-be-announced peace plan in the Middle East. Another PFLP official, Kayed al-Ghul, pointed out that his group has refused to participate in all Palestinian governments that were established after the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993. The PFLP is opposed to the Oslo Accords.
Al-Ghul said that the new government would be an obstacle in the face of efforts to end the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah.
Earlier, the DFLP, which is also opposed to the Oslo Accords, said it too would not participate in a new government and called for launching dialogue among Palestinian factions to achieve “national unity.”
The DFLP said that the establishment of a “factional government” was not among the Palestinians’ priorities, which include ending the Hamas-Fatah rift and thwarting Trump’s deal.
DFLP official Ramzi Rabah said that PLO institutions recently called for the establishment of a national government to prepare for holding long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections.
“Why form a factional and partial government now?” he asked. “We want a national unity government that would end divisions among our people.”
Hamdallah’s resignation came after Fatah called on Abbas to form a new government consisting of PLO factions and independent personalities. Fatah formed a four-member team to negotiate with various PLO factions about the possibility that they would join a new government.
The refusal of the PFLP and DFLP to join a new PA government will result in the formation of a Fatah-dominated cabinet, Palestinian political analysts predicted on Tuesday.
According to one analyst, Fatah has complained for a long time that it has no real representation in the PA government, although it is the largest Palestinian faction.
“Fatah wants to be in control of the government,” the Ramallah-based analyst said. “Many Fatah leaders feel that the Hamdallah government has marginalized them.”
By pressuring Abbas to establish a new government, Fatah is also hoping to remove Hamdallah from the political arena to prevent him from emerging as a strong candidate to succeed the PA president.
Although he is affiliated with Fatah, Hamdallah does not hold an official position in the faction. In recent months, his name has been added to the list of Palestinian officials who are seen as potential candidates to succeed the 83-year-old Abbas.