Palestinian PM steps down over post-conflict Gaza plans

Outgoing Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh was appointed to the role in 2019.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh resigned alongside his entire government on February 26 amid calls by the west to reform the Palestinian Authority (PA) after the Israel-Gaza conflict, Al Jazeera reported. 

The western world, notably the US, have called on President Mahmoud Abbas to revamp the PA, which was first established in 1994 as part of the Oslo Accords. 

US Secretary of state Anthony Blinken said that a reformed PA must “meet the aspirations of the Palestinian people and deliver for them”, 

In November last year, Joe Biden said Gaza and the West Bank “should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalised Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution”. 

The Palestinian Authority partially governs the illegally occupied West Bank and previously Gaza however forces loyal to Abbas were forcefully ousted by Hamas, recognised by the European Union and Washington as a terror organisation, in 2007 – two years after the octogenarian’s rise to power. 

In his resignation speech, the outgoing Palestinian premier said, “I would like to inform the honourable council and the great people, that I placed the government’s resignation at the disposal of the president last Tuesday (February 20) and today (February 26), I submit it in writing. 

“This decision comes in light of the political, security and economic developments related to the aggression of our people in Gaza and the unprecedented escalation in the West Bank and in the city of Jerusalem.” 

READ: Abbas should take control of Gaza according to US official

Shtayyeh was appointed Prime Minister in 2019 and his preferred replacement for the role is believed to be Mohammed Mustafa, an economist, who did his further education in the United States, and former senior World Bank official who is chairman of the Palestine Investment Fund, a company which was established in 2003 aimed at strengthening the local and national economy. 

Mr Shtayyeh’s departure was accepted by President Abbas and there are speculations that the move could spark the creation of a technocratic government. 

On February 24, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  presented his first official “day after” plan for the besieged Gaza Strip once the war ends which outlined that Israel will keep security control over Palestinian areas and make reconstruction dependent on demilitarisation. 

The plan is more or less in line with his continued reluctance to recognise a Palestinian state much to the condemnation of the EU and the United Kingdom who have reiterated their support for a two-state solution. 

Netanyahu’s sentiments were emboldened as the Knesset voted overwhelmingly against such a recognition three days prior to the announcement of his plan. 

Following the vote in the Israeli Parliament, Palestine’s Foreign Ministry noted that, “ the State of Palestine’s full membership in the United Nations and its recognition by other nations does not require permission from Netanyahu.” 

Militants Hamas and the Authority are at loggerheads however they are looking to see eye to eye as a meeting between the pair will take place in Moscow, on February 28, for talks surrounding the possibly of implementing a unified government in the country. 

Al Jazeera/ The New York Times 

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