update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

PA government resigns amid Hamas unity talks

Hamas has reportedly approved a three-step plan leading to “complete reconciliation" with the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh receives Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi in  Ramallah, June 14, 2022. Photo by Flash90.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh receives Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi in Ramallah, June 14, 2022. Photo by Flash90.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh submitted the collective resignation of his entire government on Monday, the P.A.’s official Wafa news agency reported, amid talk of a unity deal with the Hamas terrorist organization.

During a Cabinet meeting in Ramallah, Shtayyeh explained that “this decision comes in light of the political, security and economic developments related to the aggression against Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, and the unprecedented escalation in the West Bank, including the city of Jerusalem,” according to Wafa.

“We will remain in confrontation with the occupation [Israel], and the Palestinian Authority will continue to struggle to establish the state on the lands of Palestine,” he continued. “I see that the next stage and its challenges require new governmental and political arrangements that take into account the emerging reality in the Gaza Strip, the national unity talks [with Hamas], and the urgent need for an inter-Palestinian consensus based on a national basis, broad participation, unity of ranks, and the extension of the Palestinian Authority’s sovereignty over the entire land of Palestine.”

On Sunday, Sky News Arabia reported that top P.A. officials could offer their resignation “within days” to facilitate the swift establishment of a Palestinian “government of technocrats,” including Hamas members, whose primary purpose would be the reconstruction of Gaza.

The new government is expected to be headed by Mohammad Mustafa, currently the chairman of the P.A.’s Palestine Investment Fund. It would serve during a “transition period” until elections are held.

“The resignation of Shtayyeh’s government only makes sense if it comes within the context of national consensus on arrangements for the next phase,” senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters on Monday.

On Feb. 12, P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas traveled to Doha at the invitation of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to discuss ways to incorporate Hamas into a P.A.-led body for Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Following Abbas’s trip, Hamas reportedly approved a three-step plan leading to “complete reconciliation [with the Palestinian Authority]” and the terrorist group joining the Palestine Liberation Organization, which controls the P.A., under a “unified Palestinian-Arab vision.”

The United States wants the P.A. to assume control of Gaza after the war against Hamas ends, a move that Israel vehemently rejects because of Ramallah’s overt support for terrorism.

On Jan. 27, Abbas’s spokesman told Al Arabiya television that the P.A. is prepared to hand over the reins to Hamas after the conflict. Ramallah is “prepared to hold general elections, and if Hamas wins, the president will hand over the Authority,” spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said.

The U.S. State Department has refused to rule out Hamas retaining power in Gaza or even joining a P.A.-led governing body that would also have jurisdiction in Judea and Samaria.

According to Palestinian polls, 89% of Palestinians support establishing a government that includes or is led by Hamas. Only around 8.5% said they favor an authority controlled exclusively by Abbas’s Fatah faction.

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