Incoming Palestinian PM lays out plans for reform but faces major obstacles

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ruled out any return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza and his government is staunchly opposed to Palestinian statehood

March 20, 2024 10:41 am | Updated 10:41 am IST - RAMALLAH, West Bank

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appoints Mohammad Mustafa as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appoints Mohammad Mustafa as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority. | Photo Credit: Reuters

The incoming Palestinian Prime Minister said on March 19 that he will appoint a technocratic government and establish an independent trust fund to oversee Gaza’s reconstruction.

In a mission statement acquired by AP, Mohammad Mustafa laid out wide-ranging plans for the kind of revitalised Palestinian Authority called for by the U.S. as part of its postwar vision for resolving the conflict.

But the Palestinian Authority has no power in Gaza, from which Hamas drove its forces in 2007, and only limited authority in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ruled out any return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza and his government is staunchly opposed to Palestinian statehood.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas designated Mustafa as Prime Minister last week. The U.S.-educated economist and longtime adviser to Abbas is an independent with no political base.

In the mission statement, Mr. Mustafa said he would appoint a “non-partisan, technocratic government that can gain both the trust of our people and the support of the international community.”

‘Zero tolerance’ policy

He promised wide-ranging reforms of Palestinian Authority institutions and a “zero tolerance” policy toward corruption.

He said he would seek to reunify the territories and create an “independent, competent and transparent agency for Gaza’s recovery and reconstruction and an internationally managed trust fund to raise, manage and disburse the required funds.”

The vision statement made no mention of Hamas, which won a landslide victory the last time Palestinians held national elections, in 2006, and which polls indicate still has significant support.

The 88-year-old Abbas, who is in overall control of the Palestinian Authority, has remained in power since his own mandate expired in 2009 and has refused to hold elections, citing Israeli restrictions.

Elections consistently find that a large majority of Palestinians want Mr. Abbas to resign.

Mr. Mustafa said the Palestinian Authority aims to hold presidential and parliamentary elections, but he did not give a timetable and said it would depend on “realities on the ground” in Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war that the Palestinians want for their future state.

In 2021, Mr. Abbas blamed Israeli restrictions in annexed east Jerusalem for his decision to indefinitely delay elections in which his secular Fatah party was expected to suffer major losses.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.