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26 Feb, 2024 12:42

Palestinian government resigns

Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has said a new cabinet needs to take over amid an “unprecedented escalation” of violence
Palestinian government resigns

Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has announced he is stepping down amid an “unprecedented escalation” of violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as “genocide” in Gaza.

The senior official tendered his letter of resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, six days after informing him about the intention verbally, he told a government meeting in Ramallah the same day.

Shtayyeh said he took the decision due to “political, security, and economic developments related to the aggression against Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, and the unprecedented escalation” in the territories under the PA’s partial administration. He was appointed by Abbas in March 2019.

Gaza is controlled by the rival faction Hamas and is under Israeli siege, which was launched in retaliation for a deadly incursion by the militant group in October. Health officials in the enclave reported on Monday that the number of confirmed deaths in Gaza had almost reached 30,000.

The outgoing prime minister said the Palestinian people were facing “genocide, attempts at forced displacement, starvation in Gaza, intensification of colonialism, colonizers’ terrorism, and repeated invasions of camps, villages, and cities in Jerusalem and the West Bank.”

At least 399 Palestinians, including 102 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, between October 7 and February 23, according to a tally by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Two human rights groups focusing on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody reported last week that some 7,225 people had been arrested in the territories since the Hamas attack.

Shtayyeh’s resignation may be linked with US pressure on the PA to undertake reforms, multiple media reports have suggested. A new technocratic government, which will potentially govern both the West Bank and Gaza in the future, is to be selected later this week, according to sources cited by the Dubai-based Asharq News.

Ideas for a new body that could reconcile Palestinian factions as a possible stepping stone to a ceasefire in Gaza have reportedly been floated by some Arab nations, including Egypt, since December.