Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday issued a decree forcing several Palestinian governors in the West Bank and Gaza Strip into retirement.
The surprise move is seen in the context of Abbas’s effort to reassert the PA’s control over many areas, especially in the northern West Bank, in light of the growing power of armed groups affiliated with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Some of the governors have been accused of failing to enforce law and order in their districts, paving the way for the emergence of several armed groups.
Moreover, the move is seen in the context of Abbas’s effort to pave the way for the emergence of new leaders.
No reason was given for the decision, which is seen by some Palestinians as an expression of Abbas’s dissatisfaction with the performance of the governors.
The governors, who are all affiliated with the ruling Fatah faction headed by Abbas, are appointed by the PA president. The PA has 16 governors – 11 in the West Bank and five in the Gaza Strip.
Which of the PA officials were fired?
Among those removed from their jobs are the governors of the northern Gaza Strip, Gaza City, Khan Yunis, and Rafah in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.
In the West Bank, Abbas ordered the removal of the governors of Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilya, Tulkarem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Tubas, and Jericho.
Abbas also issued a decree to form a committee to select new candidates for the vacant positions.
Some of the governors said they were surprised to hear about their removal from their jobs, adding that they were not given any reason for the decision.