Fayyad Stepping Down?

PA prime minister Salam Fayyad called on factions to pick his replacement so Hamas can no longer use him as a pretext to avoid unity.

Gabe Kahn.,

PA Prime Minister Fayyad
PA Prime Minister Fayyad
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad said Monday he will not be used as a pretext for avoiding reconciliation between Fatah and the Hamas terror organization.

“It is time to end division,” Fayyad told the Jerusalem- based Al-Quds newspaper Monday. “I call upon all factions and political parties to agree on a new prime minister."

Fayyad also criticized Hamas of creating pretexts for avoiding the formation of a unity government with Fatah, which the feuding factions set out to do after signing a 'reconciliation agreement' in Cairo in May. Hamas accuses Fayyad of being too cooperative with Israel and the US.

"I was never an obstacle to the implementation of the reconciliation and I refuse to be used as a pretext for continuing the split," Fayyad said.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal had sought to reconcile the two groups and form a unity government after four years of often violent in-fighting that erupted after Hamas executed an armed putsch in Gaza.

Follow-up talks ostensibly faltered over Hamas' insistence Fayyad not continue as prime minister, but analysts say Hamas' real motives for refusing to reunite lay elsewhere.

The Islamic movement's objection to Abbas' statehood bid at the United Nations because it implicity recognized Israel as a state, reluctance to become associated with the pervasive corruption in Ramallah, and rampant fiscal insolvency plaguing the PA are at the heart of Hamas' obstructionist stance on Fayyad, they say.

Regional observers also note Hamas officials have become less enamored of the responsibilities of governance since seizing Gaza in 2007, going to far as to say "politics are bad for resistance."

Fayyad, an economist who previously worked for the International Monetary Fund, was appointed prime minister in 2007 by Abbas shortly after Hamas shattered its previous coalition with Fatah.

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