Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah has officially submitted his resignation and that of his unity government to President Mahmoud Abbas, casting doubt on the prospects of reconciliation efforts with the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas.
Palestine’s official news agency Wafa reported that 60-year-old Hamdallah tendered his resignation on Tuesday, but the government will continue to carry out its duties until a new one is formed.
Hamdallah expressed hope that consultations to establish a new government will bear fruit as soon as possible.
“The success of any government requires the confidence of the Palestinian citizens,” he said during a weekly cabinet meeting in the central West Bank city of Ramallah.
An unnamed Hamas official condemned the move as an attempt to marginalize and exclude the resistance group from the Palestinian politics.
Abbas has been facing pressure from his ruling Fatah movement over the past few weeks to remove Hamdallah from power, and establish a new government comprised of representatives from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) factions in addition to independent figures.
Hamdallah headed the Palestinian National Consensus Government, which was formed after Fatah and Hamas reached understandings in 2014.
Fatah leaders said there was no point in keeping the present government in power in the wake of the continued crisis between their faction and Hamas.
They also argue that since their faction is the largest group in the PLO, it should have a strong presence in any government.
“Fatah’s call for forming a new government consisting of PLO factions will solidify the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on Monday.
He added, “Our people are in need of a national unity government that would represent all Palestinians.”
On Sunday, Sami Abu Zuhri, another Hamas spokesman, attacked plans for the establishment of a new Palestinian government.
“The formation of any government apart from a national consensus one is a continuation of the unilateral actions taken by Fatah. Such a government will enjoy no legitimacy,” he wrote on his official Twitter page.
Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation deal two years ago, which envisioned a plan for Abbas's Palestinian Authority to resume governing in the Gaza Strip and control the coastal enclave's crossing points into Egypt and the Israeli-occupied territories.
Disputes over power-sharing and disagreements over the policy towards the Tel Aviv regime, however, have hindered the implementation of the deal.