Mohammad Shtayyeh is the new Palestinian PM

President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine has appointed Mohammad Shtayyeh as the new Prime Minister as per the official reports. Palestinian News Agency, Wafa reported that Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesperson to the President stated that Mahmoud had received Shtayyeh at his office, and was asked to form a new government. Mohammad Shtayyeh is the member of Central Committee of the Fatah party.

The whole sequence of events of replacing the current PM Rami Hamdallah is being viewed as part of the Presidential efforts to add to the isolation of the political rival group Hamas even further. The group is in control of the Gaza Strip. It is thus expected that the new government of Palestine will be dominated by the Fatah party although other parties which are not very big will also be represented.

Fatah Party

Fatah, which is just an Arabic word for Faith, was formerly known as the Palestinian National Liberation Movement and is the largest faction of the multi-party PLO and so far, the second largest party in the Legislative Council of Palestine. The party has had a significant role in the revolutionary struggle of the past and also has been involved in maintaining various militant outfits. It was founded by the dynamic leader Yasser Arafat who was its head till his death in 2004. He was succeeded by Farouk Kaddoumi as the Chairman till 2009 when Abbas took over as the elected Chairman of the party.

Mohammad Shtayyeh

Mohammad Shtayyeh has already served as a minister in the government before and was also a part of the negotiating team from Palestine when the US had mediated talks between Palestine and Israel. Rami Hamdallah government had already stepped down in January by formally tendering their resignation but was only continuing on the interim account. Since then President Abbas is the primary interlocutor to talk with the international leaders. He is also the chief decision-maker of Palestine.

Hamas, on the other hand, has stated that the move reinforces the monopoly and unilateralism of power by the President. The group added that it does not accept or even recognize the current government as it is not formed by national consensus. It has been officially in control of the Gaza Strip ever since they defeated the Fatah party in an election, the results of which were not recognized by the Fatah party. Latter was, however, driven out of Gaza by Hamas ever since. Abbas government has thus maintained only limited rule in the West Bank.

Trump and Abbas

Abbas government has largely been dissatisfied with the Trump Presidency especially after it had officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2017. Ever since then the two leaders saw a deep freeze in the bilateral ties. US administration also cut down aid worth millions of dollars to Palestine. Abbas has called the steps as the US attempts to blackmail Palestine to bow to the US and thus give up their hopes of independent statehood for Palestine. Abbas administration has always seen Trump in favour of Israel. Although Abbas was formally elected for a four-year term to office in 2005 but has been in power ever since without any following elections.

Lack of a Successor

Abbas has not selected any successor despite his health concerns. Many polls show that Marwan Barghouti has emerged as a popular leader among the masses but is currently facing five life sentences in Israel after he was guilty of organizing the killing of Israelis. Mahmoud al-Aloul, Saeb Erekat the Secretary-General of Palestine Liberation Organisation, Jibril Rajoub a senior official of Fatah and Majid Faraj who is the current head of Palestinian Intelligence are few names of possible successors.

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