Feb 26, 2024 - World

Palestinian prime minister resigns amid calls to reform Palestinian Authority

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh holds a press

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh holds a press conference in January. Photo: Issam Rimawi/Anadolu via Getty Images

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh resigned on Monday amid growing pressure by the U.S. and Arab countries on President Mahmoud Abbas to conduct wide-ranging reforms, including injecting "new blood" into the Palestinian Authority's leadership.

Why it matters: Shtayyeh's resignation had been expected for weeks. U.S. and Arab countries want to see a "revitalized" Palestinian Authority that can stabilize itself in the occupied West Bank and play a role in the management of post-war Gaza.

What they're saying: "I submitted the government's resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas on February 20, 2024, and today I submitted it in writing," Shtayyeh said on Monday during the weekly cabinet meeting.

  • Shtayyeh, who has been in office since 2019, said his government had to work under complicated circumstances including Israel's decision to withhold Palestinian tax revenues, which has exacerbated the economic crisis.
  • He cited an "unprecedented escalation" in the West Bank and Jerusalem and what he said was "the genocide, forced displacement and the starving of people in Gaza" as reasons for his decision.
  • "I see that the next stage and its challenges require new governmental and political arrangements that take into account the emerging reality in the Gaza Strip, the national unity talks, and the urgent need for an inter-Palestinian consensus based on the extension of the Palestinian Authority's sovereignty¬†over the entire land of Palestine," he said.

State of play: Abbas accepted Shtayyeh's resignation, according to a source familiar with the issue. Shtayyeh will stay as caretaker prime minister until a new government is formed.

  • Abbas and his aides are working with the U.S. and Arab countries on forming a new technocratic government.
  • Abbas is expected to nominate his confidant and chair of the Palestinian Investment Fund, Mahammad Mustafa, to head the new government, according to two U.S. and Palestinian officials.

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