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Arab states intervening in consultations about formation of Ramallah's new government

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (L) meet with the executive board members of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Ramallah, West Bank on February 13, 2017. ( Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency )
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (L) meet with the executive board members of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Ramallah, West Bank on 13 February 2017 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

High-level Palestinian sources in the occupied West Bank revealed the existence of unprecedented Arab interventions in the consultations that have been ongoing for several days about the issue of the formation of the "factional government," which is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

The sources stressed in exclusive statements to Al-Khaleej Online that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants his next government to have an Arab, international and even Israeli support, in order to avoid any obstacles or hurdles that could disrupt the work of his government.

The sources also explained that there are prompt consultations with Arab countries to form that government, "including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which have been directly intervening in the consultations and suggesting ideas on the new government's ministers." The sources pointed out that these two countries aspire that the new Palestinian government would "satisfy all the external parties more than the Palestinian ones."

The Palestinian sources mentioned that the government has made great progress in the internal consultations and with the Arab countries, and has accomplished some important steps, pointing out that Abbas told Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and even Jordan that the next Prime Minister will be from the first-rank leadership of Fatah movement.

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Arab suggestions regarding the Prime Minister

The high-level sources added: "Some of the suggestions the Arab countries have made to Abbas on the issue of the formation of his new government; that the latter should be mostly composed of figures that would receive Israel's acceptance and satisfaction. In addition, these figures should not have conflicts with the occupation state and even the US administration so as to facilitate the work of the new government.

The sources also revealed to Al-Khaleej Online that the announcement of the new government and the swearing in before Abbas at the headquarters of the province in Ramallah would be in the last third of February. It is likely to be on the 25th of the same month at the latest, after the completion of all consultations with the factions and national forces.

Regarding the agreement on the name of the next Prime Minister, Al-Khaleej Online quoted sources as saying: "There is consensus on some political personalities. However, according to most indicators and consultations with the Arab countries, the Prime Minister will be Mohammed Ashtayeh, member of Fatah's Central Committee whose name was recommended by several Arab countries, and has the acceptance of Israel and the US."

The formation of a new government requires that former president, Abbas, appoints a new personality or the current Prime Minister himself to choose the ministers of the new government, within two weeks of the mandate, as provided by the Palestinian law.

READ: As Abbas ages, Fatah moves to consolidate power

Last Tuesday, January 29th, outgoing Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah stated that his government's resignation is at the disposal of President Abbas, following the recommendation made by the Central Committee of Fatah to form a new government.

A few days ago, the Central Committee of Fatah recommended the formation of a government that comprises political factions, i.e. Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and independent political figures. The Committee justified its call to form the new government, saying that "the reconciliation file with Hamas has been faltered,", while Hamas considered that granting Abbas the authority to control the government is "deepening the Palestinian crisis and weakening the home front once more," according to a statement by the movement's spokesman, Hazem Qassem.

It is noteworthy that the occupation government and the United States require Hamas to recognize the Israeli state and disarm its factions as a condition to participate in the Palestinian government. However, Hamas has rejected these terms.

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