Abbas, Fayyad agree on new PA cabinet

New cabinet will be headed by current Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, but he will give up the Finance Ministry.

PA President Abbas and PM Fayyad 370 (R) (photo credit: Fadi Arouri / Reuters)
PA President Abbas and PM Fayyad 370 (R)
(photo credit: Fadi Arouri / Reuters)
A new Palestinian Authority cabinet is expected to be announced within the next 48 hours, sources in Ramallah said Monday evening.
They said that the new cabinet will be headed by current Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
The sources said that Nabil Qassis, the former president of Bir Zeit University in the West Bank, will replace Fayyad as finance minister.
The new cabinet will be formed in accordance with an agreement recently reached between Fayyad and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
The agreement ended weeks of tension between the two men over the formation of a new cabinet as well as other issues, including Fayyad’s refusal to deliver a letter from Abbas to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last month.
Four new ministers will join the new cabinet.
Anwar Doudin, former head of the Faculty of Medicine at An-Najah University, is slated to replace Fathi Abu Mughli as health minister in the new cabinet.
Ali Muhana, former head of the Palestinian Bar Association, will replace Ali Khashan as justice minister, the sources said.
Walid Assaf, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, will be appointed agriculture minister, while Safa Nasser Eddin will replace Mashour Abu Daka as communications minister.
Ziad Bandak is scheduled to replace Khloud Daibes as tourism minister, the sources added.
The remaining ministries will remain under the control of the current ministers, including Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki and Interior Minister Said Abu Ali.
The formation of a new PA cabinet in the West Bank is seen as an admission of the failure of efforts to establish a unity government with Hamas.
Earlier this year, Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal signed an agreement in Qatar to form a unity government.
However, the agreement, like previous accords between the two parties, was never implemented due to the wide gap between the two sides.