Resignation Of Palestinian Government Surprises World

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Al-Hamdallah has tendered his resignation and that of the government of the Palestinian Authority to the authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas. President Abbas said in a statement that he accepted the resignation and that the Palestinian Authority would continue to function until a new government was formed. A special committee appointed by the government has already begun negotiating the formation of a new Cabinet with various Palestinian political parties.

The Palestinian Authority is a largely technocratic administration that had the approval of both Fatah, the mainstream party that controls the West Bank, and Hamas, the militant Islamist group that controlled the Gaza Strip. Mr. Hamdallah was first appointed prime minister in 2013. The Palestinian Authority was set to resume governing in Gaza and take control of the coastal enclave’s crossing points into Egypt and Israel, but disputes over power-sharing and policy has stalled progress.

The failure of efforts to reunite the West Bank was not the only issue hampering the Palestinian Authority. The government was also facing rising public discontent over the promotion of a contentious social security law. The law involved a new tax to finance a fund to cover pension benefits. Widespread street demonstrations prompted the authorities to suspend the legislation.

The Palestinian Authority has also been contending with pressure from the United States to participate in an American-led peace process. To that end, the Trump administration has undertaken a series of punitive measures, including drastically reducing the amount of funding Palestinians receive from the U.S. The Palestinian government suspended relations with the American government in 2017 after President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, subsequently moving the United States Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

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