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Expert: PA's New Prime Minister Means Nothing

Middle East expert Dr. Guy Bechor: Abbas's term as PA chairman ended years ago, so the appointment of his new prime minister is illegal.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/4/2013, 3:14 AM

Rami Hamdallah
Rami Hamdallah
Reuters

Hamas was quick to condemn Sunday's appointment of Rami Hamdallah as the Palestinian Authority’s new prime minister, saying the move was illegal and that the government in Ramallah “does not represent the Palestinian people.” The terror group which controls Gaza is correct in this statement, Middle East expert Dr. Guy Bechor told Arutz Sheva on Monday.

Bechor noted that Mahmoud Abbas’s term as PA Chairman ended years ago, but he continues in his role despite no one having given him the mandate to do so. The PA parliament which was elected for a four-year term in 2005 has yet to be dissolved, despite the fact that nearly two terms have already passed since its election, he added.

In the absence of a new PA parliament, a new chairman cannot be elected, Bechor said, adding, “In this situation, one day an Arab leader will be able to tell Israel, ‘You signed an agreement with a person who has no authority and I do not accept this signature. He will be right.’”

He added that politicians in Israel and the U.S. are aware of the fact that Abbas has no authority, but the Americans choose to ignore this and promote peace talks with Abbas. Israel, said Dr. Bechor, should make clear that it will not engage in any negotiations as long as there is no elected PA parliament and chairman with whom to negotiate.

"Israel's position should be that it wants to know with whom it is negotiating," he said.

As for Hamdallah himself, Bechor noted that he is not a politician, adding that in appointing Hamdallah, “Abbas wanted someone who speaks English, who will be faithful and who will look moderate”, while ignoring the reconciliation agreement signed with Hamas and which stipulates that the appointment of the new prime minister is conditioned on the agreement of Hamas.

He added that the U.S. is “obsessed” with the peace process and that Secretary of State John Kerry is working to get the two sides to talk while ignoring pressing issues such as the Syrian civil war or the Iranian nuclear threat.

Washington was quick to hail the nomination of Hamdallah, who has been described as “a moderate pragmatist.”