Hamas-Fatah rift widens after Abbas' cabinet reshuffle

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 29.01.2019 00:08

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah offered to resign Monday, 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 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 Sunday the formation of a new government that would comprise members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The officials say Abbas appointed a four-member committee from his Fatah movement on Sunday to consult with political factions about forming a new government.

The three officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal deliberations.The two rival groups have been at odds since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007 from Fatah. The situation escalated between the two movements last week, which observers described as the "most serious" since the signing of the last reconciliation agreement in October 2017 in Egypt. The reconciliation process foresees that Hamas will hand over control to Fatah in Gaza and there will be elections in six months. Despite many positive steps taken, the two parties are stuck on certain issues.

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