PA Chairman Abbas Appoints Mohammad Shtayyeh as Next Palestinian PM

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appointed Fatah official Mohammed Shtayyeh to serve as the new Palestinian Prime Minister; in what the Islamist Hamas organization called “a blow to Egyptian-brokered unity efforts.” The decision comes six weeks after the resignation of Rami Hamdallah from the position prompted the demise of the unity government, underscoring the failure of the rival Hamas and Fatah factions to implement a power-sharing agreement.

In a televised statement, the newly-appointed Prime Minister declared he will immediately begin consultations the Palestine Liberation Organization headed by Abbas, to form of a new cabinet.

The potential exclusion from the next government of Hamas, which does not belong to the PLO, reflects the deepening rift between the two sides. One senior Hamas official went so far as to predict “the new separatist government will prolong Palestinian division.”

Terms of the November 2017 Palestinian reconciliation deal between the two sides called for Abbas’ West Bank-based PA to resume governance of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. When Hamas effectively refused to hand over administrative control to the Western-backed Authority, Abbas vowed to bring the internationally-recognized terror group to its knees, and imposed a series of sanctions on the territory under its control.