Palestinian PM willing to quit ‘if President Abbas wishes’


WEST BANK: Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Monday offered to resign, his spokesman said, amid efforts by President Mahmoud Abbas to form a new government.

Such bids are seen as part of attempts by Abbas to further isolate his political rivals Hamas amid a deepening of a decade-long split in Palestinian politics.

Hamdallah has “put his government at the disposal of President Mahmoud Abbas,” the prime minister’s spokesman Yussef al-Mahmud said in a statement.

It came after the central committee of Abbas’s Fatah movement recommended late on Sunday the formation of a new government that would comprise members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Hamdallah’s West Bank-based government welcomed plans for a new government, his spokesman said.

The Islamist movement Hamas is not part of the PLO.

It seized control of Gaza from Abbas’s forces in a 2007 near civil war, a year after winning parliamentary elections.

Since then Abbas’s governments have maintained limited self rule in the occupied West Bank, but the split between the two has remained.

In June 2014 Hamdallah formed what was labelled a national unity government after a landmark reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas.

The deal has since broken down and the government has no control in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Abbas was elected in 2005 for an initial four-year term but no elections have been held since then due to the Fatah-Hamas split.