Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah officially submitted his resignation and that of his unity government to President Mahmoud Abbas, dealing a blow to faltering reconciliation efforts with Gaza's Hamas rulers.
The move paves the way for the formation of a new government made up of factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The central committee of Abbas' Fatah movement recommended late Sunday the formation of a new government that would comprise of members of the PLO.
The officials say Abbas appointed a four-member committee from his Fatah movement Sunday to consult with political factions about forming 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.
A new PLO government would officially mark the end of the stalled reconciliation efforts between Abbas' Fatah party and his political rival Hamas. 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 the many positive steps taken, the two parties are stuck on certain issues.
The first government formed by Hamdallah in July 2013 was comprised of mainly independent technocrats and few Fatah members. He formed a new government in June 2014, called a "government of national consensus," in which some posts were left vacant for ministers from other parties, including Hamas, as reconciliation efforts were underway. No Hamas ministers, however, were appointed in the end.
Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad told an Arab satellite station Monday that the purpose behind forming a government comprised of the PLO factions is to replace the government of national consensus which was intended to bring Hamas into to the fold. Since 2006, there have been no parliamentary elections in the Palestinian territories. Hamas won those elections and a year later seized control of Gaza.