Hamas Fumes as Abbas Reshuffles PA Cabinet (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Gabe Kahn 05/16/12)
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Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas reshuffled his cabinet
“The government will be sworn in at (president Mahmud) Abbas’s office
at 6:00 pm (1500 GMT),”PA labour minister Ahmad Majdalani told AFP.
Abbas has been arranging his new cabinet - which will have seven new
ministers - since the previous government resigned amid an ongoing
corruption probe and fiscal insolvency in February 2011.
The decision to shake things up in Ramallah came shortly after the PA
leadership announced it would hold legislative and presidential
elections “in the coming months.”
Abbas previously tasked prime minister Salam Fayyad with forming a
new government, but then put the brakes on in April after announced
he had negotiated a reconciliation deal with Hamas politburo chief
The agreement called for the creation of an interim cabinet of
independent technocrats selected by the two factions, which would
prepare for elections by May 2012.
However, the deal revealed a growing schism between Mashaal´s
politburo-in-exile and the Hamas leadership in Gaza headed by Ismail
Haniyeh, who effectively scuttled the March deal.
Mashaal has tentatively accepted the notion of a state on the 1967
borders, and offered Abbas a one-year mandate for negotiations with
Israel – though his fellow politburo members maintain any agreement
with Israel will only serve as a “prelude to war.”
However, Haniyeh and his allies maintain that all talks with Israel
are “futile” and believes the tide of the Arab Spring will lead to
victory in the movement’s armed quest to destroy the Jewish state.
An official familiar with the terms told the Bethlehem-based Maan
News Agency that Hamas demanded to keep the key ministries in the new
government, including the ministry of interior, and also demanded no
change in the structure of security services in the Gaza Strip.
The Interior Ministry controls the Hamas ´security services.´
Additionally, the source said Hamas "was not prepared to abandon
control of Gaza." In essence, the new terms would allow Hamas to
retain sole control over Gaza while giving it a say in the running of
PA enclaves in Judea and Samaria.
As a result, Abbas who has rejected Haniyeh´s terms, restarted his
plan to form a new cabinet without Hamas. According to a source in
Fayyad’s office, seven new ministers will take up the portfolios
covering health, tourism, national economy, justice, agriculture,
transportation and telecommunications.
Majdalani claimed the move to replace the old cabinet instead of
bringing in the interim cabinet called for by the unity deal was a
not a sign that the reconciliation process had collapsed.
“No, we still hope that the reconciliation will happen. But we need
to reshuffle the government to deal with the population’s everyday
life,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hamas reacted angrily to news of the new cabinet saying it
underscored that the Fatah-Hamas unity deal was going nowhere.
“This strengthens the division,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum told
“This government was built on corruption, and was not the choice of
the Palestinian people and was not approved by the legislative
Barhum said the move “shows clearly to all that the Palestinian
Authority and Fatah are far from the implementation” of the unity
Abbas’ Fatah faction has been pushing forward with plans for new
elections – including laying the groundwork in Gaza – but Hamas has
not consented to allow them to proceed. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012
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