Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rami Hamdallah Again

Mahmood Abbas has chosen an old face to head the proposed Hamas-Fatah unity government:
Abbas appointed Rami Hamdallah, prime minister in the West Bank, as chief minister in the new arrangement and said he had asked him to form a government.
In a brief ceremony with Hamdallah by his side, Abbas declared: "This letter designates Dr Rami Hamdallah to form a new transitional government. I wish him luck in this difficult task which he will undertake."
According to Palestinian sources announcement of the full government, which was expected on Thursday, has been held up over disagreements over the posts of foreign and interior ministers and may now be announced next week.
The fact Rami Hamdallah is "prime minister in the West Bank" refers to the fact he has been prime minister in the Fatah government for about a year now, and despite his technocratic reputation is close to Fatah.  This may be further evidence that Hamas is weaker than Fatah right now, as the latter has lost the bulk of its foreign patronage by voicing support for the Syrian rebels.  The interior and foreign ministries will be the make-or-break positions for whether this goes forward, as policy towards Israel remains a key division between the two sides, and both will also want to protect their security services and unofficial networks.



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