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US Analysts Dismiss Reports of Palestinian PM Resignation

  • Zlatica Hoke

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad reportedly handed in his resignation after months of disagreement with President President Mahmoud Abbas.

Longstanding differences between the Palestinian president and his prime minister came to a head after Fayyad accepted the resignation of Finance Minister Nabil Quassis last month and President Abbas rejected it. A senior official from Abbas's Fatah party said the prime minister has handed in his resignation and that Abbas is considering it.

David Pollack, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says he does not expect Fayyad to resign. He told Alhurra television in an interview Thursday that the Palestinian Authority will not accept Fayyad's resignation, or that it will at least postpone it because the former IMF official has international support and the Palestinians need international aid.

"There is an international consensus that the Palestinian Authority deserves to be funded. At the same time, I think that if [Prime Minister] Fayyad does resign and his resignation is accepted, that the international community will want some other guarantees that the funds from abroad will not simply disappear into the pockets of corrupt officials," Pollack stated. "And it will be important for the Palestinian Authority under whatever government, to work with the international community to make sure that is the case."

Western policy makers have offered staunch support to the U.S.-educated economist who also has gained Israel's respect. Former Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat appointed him finance minister in 2001 and the following year he spent months with him under Israeli siege.

"I don't think one should forget about the fact that we just moved out of prison, small prison," said Fayyad.

Fayyad has been the prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority since 2007. The West has considered him a moderate leader.

After initial success in revitalizing the Palestinian economy, Fayyad ran into trouble after Israel and the United States withheld vital funds last year to punish the Palestinians for seeking full membership in the United Nations.
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