Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accepts the government39s resignation

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accepts the government's resignation

This decision is explained by “the urgent need for an inter-Palestinian consensus” at a time when behind-the-scenes negotiations to reform the Palestinian political leadership in the “post-war” context of Gaza are intensifying.

The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, accepted this Monday, February 26, the government's resignation announced the day before, at a time when negotiations are intensifying behind the scenes to ensure the political leadership of the Palestinians within the framework of “ the “post-war period” in Gaza.

“I submitted the government’s resignation to Mr. President on February 20 and am handing it over in writing today,” said Mohammed Shtayyeh, head of government since spring 2019, on Monday morning in Ramallah, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority.

And that evening, President Abbas issued a decree “accepting this resignation” and instructing Mohammed Shtayyeh and his ministers to “remain in office temporarily until a new government is formed.”

“An inter-Palestinian consensus”

“The next step requires new governmental and political measures that take into account the new reality in Gaza (…), the urgent need for an inter-Palestinian consensus” and the creation of a Palestinian state with authority over the West Bank and Gaza, explained Mohammed Shtayyeh.

Since the fratricidal clashes in June 2007, the Palestinian leadership has been divided: Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority exercises limited power in the West Bank, occupied by Israel since 1967, and Hamas controls the Gaza Strip.

For Palestinian analyst Ghassan Khatib, the resignation of the Shtayyeh government is not a gesture of defiance towards Mahmoud Abbas, but rather an opportunity for the Palestinian Authority to show that it is ready to embark on the path of post-war reforms in Gaza.

An authority for the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Arab countries including Qatar, Western powers and opponents of Mahmoud Abbas are calling for a reformed Palestinian Authority that would ultimately be responsible for the West Bank and Gaza Strip under the banner of an independent Palestinian state.

With the resignation of the Shtayyeh government, “Mahmoud Abbas wants to show the mediator that he is also prepared to take this path,” emphasizes Ghassan Khatib, specifying that this new Palestinian leadership would include elements of the Palestinian Authority, but also Hamas.

“If Abbas and Hamas reach an agreement, it would be a new phase in Palestinian politics. That would be significant because the two camps have tried to get closer many times without ever being successful,” explains Ghassan Khatib.

“Helplessness” by Mahmoud Abbas

For Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Center for Politics and Opinion Research (PCPSR), an independent institute in Ramallah, the resignation presented on Monday by the Shtayyeh government is only cosmetic and part of an attempt by Mahmoud Abbas to make people believe in a wish to allow for reform.

“Abbas wants to show the world that he is ready to make changes (…), but the only real reform would be for him to return home,” underlines Khalil Shikaki, emphasizing that any successor to the Shtayyeh government “will have to Changes will be forced.” “loyal” to the Palestinian president because he runs “like a one-man show.”

In recent months, many Palestinians have criticized 88-year-old President Mahmoud Abbas, last elected in 2005, for his “helplessness” in the face of Israeli raids in the Gaza Strip.

In contradiction to recent talks about “post-war” Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a plan that calls for maintaining Israel's “security control,” rejects the possibility of a Palestinian state and does not envisage a political role for the Palestinian Authority or the Palestinian Authority Hamas.

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