The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, is to sack his Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, due to profound disputes between the two men, informed sources close to Abbas have said.
The sources claimed that disputes reached a peak when Fayyad accepted the resignation of Finance Minister, Nabeel Qassis, last week.
Qassis tendered his resignation to Abbas, who refused it, but it was later accepted by Fayyad without referring to Abbas. This aroused the anger of Mahmoud Abbas and the leaders of his Fatah movement.
Abbas and the leaders of Fatah became even more furious following cuts made to the salaries of Fatah's employees in Gaza last month. The cuts were taken for electricity charges. Employees loyal to Fatah stopped working when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
The Chinese news agency, Shinkhwa, reported that Abbas headed a meeting with Fatah leaders in the West Bank immediately after finishing an international tour. They [Fatah leaders] discussed what happened with Qassis and threatened to resign from Fayyad's government.
Shinkhwa claimed that ahead of the US president's visit to Ramallah, Fayyad asked Abbas to arrange a meeting with Obama. However, Abbas furiously replied that Fayyad would be sacked within the next few days.
Shinkhwa also said that Abbas is planning to commission the Palestinian economist, Mohammed Mustafa, to form a new government in the wake of Fayyad's sacking.
As a practical move towards his expected new mission, Mahmoud has resigned from heading the Palestinian Investment Fund.
Fatah leaders in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have severely criticised Fayyad's policies recently. "He wants to tear Fatah to pieces," member of Fatah's executive committee in the West Bank, Tawfiq al-Terawi, wrote on his facebook page earlier this week.
Al-Terawi also criticised Fayyad's inefficient economic policy. He said, "He failed to decide the annual budget because of his failed policies, which depend on illusive projects that are non-existent on the ground."
Meanwhile, Fatah senior leader in the Gaza Strip, Amal Hamad, described salary cuts to Fatah members in Gaza as "a disaster" with "disastrous consequences for the citizens who live in an already deteriorated economic situation."