Palestinian government submits its resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas

The Palestinian Authority government has resigned

Palestinian government submits its resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas

The Palestinian Authority government has resigned. “I presented the resignation of the government to Mr. President on February 20 and I submit it today in writing,” declared solemnly, Monday, February 26 in the morning, in Ramallah, Mohammad Shtayyeh, head of the Palestinian government since the spring 2019.

The president, Mahmoud Abbas, did not immediately react to this announcement from the Shtayyeh government which comes, according to the latter, “in light of the developments linked to the aggression against Gaza” and the “escalation” violence in the West Bank since the start of the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas on October 7.

In recent months, many Palestinians have criticized Mr. Abbas, 88, for his “helplessness” in the face of Israeli raids in the Gaza Strip, and even called for his resignation.

“The next step requires new governmental and political measures that take into account the new reality in the Gaza Strip (…), an urgent need for an inter-Palestinian consensus” and the creation of a Palestinian state with authority over the West Bank and Gaza, Mr. Shtayyeh said.

Divided Palestinian leadership

Since fratricidal clashes in June 2007, the Palestinian leadership has been divided between the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, which exercises limited power in the West Bank, territory occupied since 1967 by Israel, while Hamas controls the Gaza Strip.

The resignation of the Shtayyeh government takes place before a meeting of Palestinian factions in Moscow and while countries in the region, Western countries and opponents of Mahmoud Abbas are pleading for a reformed Palestinian Authority ultimately responsible for the West Bank and Gaza under the banner of an independent Palestinian state.

In an interview last week with Agence France-Presse (AFP), opponent Nasser Al-Kidwa, nephew of the late Yasser Arafat, also called for an "amicable divorce" with Mahmoud Abbas and for a new unit of Palestinian political leadership, including some members of Hamas.

For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed last week his first "post-war" plan, which provides for the maintenance of Israel's "security control" in the West Bank and Gaza, an eventuality rejected by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

The war was provoked on October 7 by an unprecedented attack carried out in Israel by Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza, which resulted in the deaths of at least 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count made from official Israeli data.