Palestinian president accepts prime minister’s resignation
Rami Hamdallah resigns in protest over appointment of two deputies
Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah, who was appointed on June 2nd, has been asked to continue in office in a caretaker capacity until a new government is formed. Photograph: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters
The move comes ahead of this week’s visit by US secretary of state John Kerry, who has paid several visits to Jerusalem and Ramallah in a bid to relaunch the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
Mr Abbas has refused to talk to Israel unless prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu halts settlement expansion and agrees to negotiate on the basis of the line of June 4th, 1967, before Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Mr Netanyahu has rejected both “conditions”.
Mr Hamdallah, who was appointed on June 2nd, has been asked to continue in office in a caretaker capacity until a new government is formed.
He resigned in protest against the appointment of two deputies, Ziad Abu Amr and Mohamed Mustafa, head of the Palestine Investment Fund. The latter was authorised to sign all economic agreements with the World Bank and other organisations without consulting the premier.
Mr Hamdallah, an independent academic who heads an-Najah University in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, had insisted that he should exercise full powers as prime minister. He had also said he would remain in the post only until a national unity government is formed by Fatah, which administers Palestinian West Bank enclaves, and Hamas, which rules Gaza.
London-based daily al-Quds al-Arabi said: “Hamdallah wants to be a prime minister in fact and to have the final say on prime ministerial issues, but the Palestinian Authority wants him to be just a puppet.
“The clash was inevitable the the resignation assured.”
Previous prime minister Salam Fayyad, a western-educated economist, stood down in April due to a row with Fatah over economic policies. He was had been appointed prime minister in June 2007.