Mahmoud Abbas asks Hamdallah, resigned prime minister, to form new Palestinian government

( Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has called on Rami Hamdallah, who previously resigned as PA prime minister, to form a new government within five weeks, Ma’an News Agency reported. Hamdallah agreed to fulfill Abbas’s request.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Credit: White House photo by Lawrence Jackson.

Abbas’s request indicates that the two Palestinian leaders have ended their differences. Hamdallah, who was the president of An-Najah University in Nablus, was appointed PA prime minister on June 2 following the resignation of Salam Fayyad. Just two weeks after his appointment, Hamdallah abruptly resigned over differences on cabinet appointments with Abbas. But Abbas so far has not replaced Hamdallah with another prime minister.

The PA has not held elections since 2006 due to a dispute with Hamas, which ousted the PA and Fatah from the Gaza Strip in 2007. Abbas, meanwhile, has served more than four years since his term as PA president expired in January 2009.

Many analysts suspect Hamdallah, a political newcomer, was originally chosen as prime minister by Abbas in order to maintain Fayyad’s ties with Western countries, which provide the PA with substantial amounts of foreign aid.

While Hamdallah may help Abbas bring stability to the PA amid renewed Israel-Palestinian conflict talks, Hamdallah’s new role may also put unity talks with Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, in jeopardy. Hamas called Hamdallah’s original appointment as prime minister “illegal,” according to the Jerusalem Post.

Posted on August 13, 2013 .