The Palestinian prime minister is stepping down in a gesture to his
Western-backed Palestinian Prime Minister Salam
Fayyad has submitted his resignation, saying he hopes the move will
clear the way for a national unity government with the rival Islamic
militant group Hamas. Fayyad's West Bank government has been at
loggerheads with the Hamas regime in Gaza since the Palestinian civil
war two years ago.
Fayyad's decision came ahead of the resumption of Palestinian reconciliation talks on Tuesday in Cairo.
President Mahmoud Abbas said Fayyad's resignation "is meant to enhance
and support the national dialogue." He said he hopes an agreement on
power-sharing can be reached by the end of this month.
set up a new government in the West Bank after Hamas routed his Fatah
forces in the Gaza civil war in 2007. He sacked Hamas Prime Minister
Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza and replaced him with the moderate Fayyad.
Hamas was lukewarm to Fayyad's decision, saying his government was
"illegal and unconstitutional" in the first place.
spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the Fayyad government did not work for the
sake of the Palestinian people, but for its own agenda.
unity government is seen as a necessary step toward Palestinian
statehood but there is a hitch. A Palestinian state would have to be
negotiated with Israel, but Hamas refuses to talk to or recognize the
Jewish state. And Israel says it will not deal with any government that