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Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Resigns

Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh resigned on February 26 in anticipation of postwar governance challenges. “I see that the next stage and its challenges will require new governmental and political arrangements,” Shtayyeh said, emphasizing “the emerging reality in the Gaza Strip, the national unity talks, and the urgent need for an inter-Palestinian consensus.” American and Palestinian officials expect that Abbas will nominate Mohammed Mustafa, the chairman of the Palestine Investment Fund, as Shtayyeh’s successor.

Expert Analysis

“Bringing in Palestine Investment Fund chief Mohammed Mustafa and pushing out the current prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh is the rearranging of the deck chairs on the Palestinian Titanic. Both men are part of the problem. They are both cronies of Mahmoud Abbas. Neither figure has the power or will to reform the PA. This is not a serious effort to bring better governance to the West Bank, let alone Gaza. The United States must demand more.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research
“The PA has become largely irrelevant and desperately needs to be reformed. Palestinians overwhelmingly reject the authority’s corruption and repression. Replacing one Abbas loyalist with another is not the reform the Palestinians need.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

PA Failing to Reform

Washington has repeatedly said that a “revitalized” PA should govern Gaza after the war. However, concerns remain over the PA’s ability to govern an independent Palestinian state, especially one ruled in coordination with Hamas. Abbas, who is in the 20th year of a four-year term, has presided over a corrupt and ineffective government that has lost legitimacy among the Palestinian people. The PA also continues to provide controversial welfare payments for Palestinian terrorists or their surviving families, and allows Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups to operate in the West Bank without significant limitations.

In Search of Palestinian Unity

The West Bank-based terrorist organization Hamas dismissed Shtayyeh’s resignation and said that it “only makes sense if it comes within the context of national consensus arrangements for the next phase.” Hamas is expected to participate in talks with other Palestinian factions in Moscow from February 29 through March 2. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Envoy for the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov invited as many as 14 Palestinian groups, including Fatah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, from various Middle Eastern countries to participate.