Abbas to announce dissolvement of technocrat unity government just a year after its formation due to continued conflict with Hamas & its inability to work in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas announced Tuesday that the Ramallah-based government would resign within the next 24 hours, several senior Fatah officials told AFP.
“Within 24 hours the Palestinian government will resign,” Abbas told members of the Revolutionary Council of his Fatah movement, according to several officials who attended the meeting.
Amin Maqbul, secretary general of the ruling Fatah movement’s Revolutionary Council, told AFP earlier Tuesday that “the government will resign in the next 24 hours because this one is weak and there is no chance that Hamas will allow it to work in Gaza.”
The government’s intention was confirmed by another senior Palestinian official who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.
The Islamist Hamas movement ruled Gaza for seven years but its administration stepped down last June when the Ramallah-based consensus government was sworn in.
Comprised of independent technocrats, the government lineup was agreed by both Fatah and Hamas and was given a mandate to govern both the West Bank and Gaza, ending seven years of separate administrations.
But in practice, it has been unable to extend its authority to Gaza, which was devastated by a deadly 50-day war with Israel last summer and where Hamas remains the de facto power.
“After the government resigns, we will start consultations to form a new government,” Maqbul told AFP, without saying whether the new lineup would be pieced together in consultation with Hamas.
A government source confirmed that the idea had been under discussion for weeks, although he denied it was imminent.
He said it was linked to the government’s “inability to act in Gaza”.
“There have been discussions inside the government about resigning if they are unable to do anything for Gaza,” he told AFP.
He said the move had been under discussion since a government delegation was forced to cut short a trip to Gaza in late April over a long-running and bitter dispute with Hamas over employees.
A 40-strong government delegation, including eight ministers, arrived in Gaza on April 19 for a week-long trip but was forced to leave a day later after Hamas accused the officials of bias in resolving a dispute over salaries.
The formation of the consensus government followed an April 2014 reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah which sought to end seven years of bad blood between the two Palestinian nationalist movements.
Hamas denies weighing five-year truce with Israel
Meanwhile a senior Hamas official denied reports that the organization was in talks with Israel for a long-term ceasefire, Haaretz daily reported Tuesday.
“There are no such contacts for a long-term period of calm under the auspices of any country,” Salah Bardawil said, adding that “The only initiative that existed was presented by the former UN Mideast envoy Robert Serry and it did not bear fruit. And there were all sorts of proposals from European bodies that did not progress.”
According to al-Quds newspaper, leading members of Hamas are meeting in Qatar to discuss a proposal for a long-term ceasefire with Israel.
Nonetheless, Bardawil, who was speaking on Palestinian Ashams Radio, said that Hamas and other Palestinian factions inside the Strip had signed an agreement to maintain quiet with Israel following the end of the summer war.
The truce proposal, which is backed by both Qatar and Turkey, is based on an outline formulated by UN special envoy to the Middle East Nikolay Mladenov, according to Israel Radio.
Israeli media reported that Abu Marzouk arrived in Doha from Gaza on Saturday and held a series of meetings with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who lives in Qatar, as well as other senior officials in the organization.
The truce proposal is said to stipulate that Israel allow the construction of a floating sea port off the Gaza coast, to be subject to Israeli or international supervision
The truce idea has come up in the past, at least since the Aug. 26 ceasefire that ended last summer’s 50-day war between the sides, but Israel has strenuously objected to the Hamas demand for an airfield and sea port, fearing these would be used to bring in weapons.
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