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Mohammad Shtayyeh named as new Palestinian Prime Minister

Mohammad Shtayyeh has been named as the new Prime Minister of Palestine by the President of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas. Shtayyeh, a long time ally of the Abbas, is the member of the central committee of the President’s Fatah party.

Mar 11, 2019 15:43 IST
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Mohammad Shtayyeh was on March 10, 2019 named as the new Prime Minister of Palestine by the President of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas. Shtayyeh, a long time ally of the Abbas, is the member of the central committee of the President’s Fatah party.

He was received by the President at his office on March 10 and asked to form the new government. Shtayyeh replaces Rami Hamdallah, who had been prime minister since 2014. The announcement comes six weeks after Hamdallah gave his resignation from the post and of his Unity government to President Mahmoud Abbas in January 2019, underscoring the failure of Hamas and Fatah to implement a power-sharing deal.

About Mohammad Shtayyeh

  Mohammad Shtayyeh named as new Palestinian Prime Minister Born in Nablus in the West Bank in 1958, Shtayyeh was nine years old when Israel seized the territory during the Six-Day War, an occupation that continues even now.

Shtayyeh studied at Birzeit University in the West Bank, completed a Ph.D. in development at Sussex University in Britain and then returned to the Palestinian territory in the late 1980s.

Shtayyeh has spent much of his life working alongside Abbas. He is a political moderate and a strong supporter of the two-state solution, which calls for the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

He has been part of a number of Palestinian negotiating teams in the United States-brokered talks with Israel.

He has served as a minister twice in the previous Palestinian governments, as well as held major roles in economic development initiatives including the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction.

Impact

Unlike the two previous prime ministers who were seemingly politically independent, Shtayyeh comes from Fatah, Abbas's political party.

Hence, some analysts view the appointment of 61-year-old Shtayyeh as a part of Abbas's efforts to further isolate Hamas, a rival political group that runs the besieged Gaza Strip.

The new administration is expected to be dominated by Fatah, though other smaller parties will be represented. The previous government was formed during a period of improved relations between the two most dominant parties in the Palestinian political scene.

 

Background

The Palestinian government is the government of the Palestinian Authority or the State of Palestine. Since June 2007, there have been two competing governments in the Palestinian territories, one in the West Bank and the other in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has been the de facto government in the Gaza Strip since 2007, after defeating the Fatah party in parliamentary elections. It then pushed Fatah out of Gaza when the latter refused to recognise the result of the vote.

Since then, elections have not been held. While Hamas continued to dominate Gaza Strip, Abbas's Fatah maintained limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank. Abbas won a four-year term as president in 2005 and he remained in office without further elections.

In June 2014, the Palestinian Unity Government was formed with the backing of Hamas and other factions.

Following two Fatah–Hamas Agreements in 2014, Hamas agreed to let the Unity Government resume control over the Gaza Strip and its border crossings with Egypt and Israel, but that agreement broke down by June 2015, after President Abbas said that the unity government was unable to operate in the Gaza Strip.

Several nations including those in the European Union, Israel and the United States consider Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

Palestine- US issues

The Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has recently been in conflict with US President Donald Trump's administration.

Abbas froze ties with the United States after the US President declared Jerusalem as Israel's capital and shifted its embassy there.

Trump has since then taken a series of steps against the Palestinians, including cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid.

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