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

The much ballyhooed Palestinian Authority “unity deal” appears to be falling apart over the question of who will lead its government.

The Fatah faction headed by Ramallah-based PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday nominated PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad -- an independent belonging to neither faction -- for the post.

Fayyad, a professional economist, is also backed by Western governments, having served for many years at the International Monetary Fund. He has been credited with playing a significant role in turning the PA economy around, although the gains were minimal due to numerous local factors.

The Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza, however, has rejected the nomination out of hand, calling him a “tool in foreign hands rather than national hands.”

Spokesman Mushier Al-Masri told reporters Sunday that Hamas “has no possibility to accept Fayyad's nomination because he is an undesirable personality for the Palestinian people.”

The two factions, which agreed in May to end the political split that tore the PA apart in 2006, are still trying to find a way to make their reconciliation deal work. Representatives of Fatah and Hamas are expected to meet in Cairo on Tuesday to continue talks on the matter.

Meanwhile, the United States has said it will not allow American funding intended for the PA Arab people to reach Hamas in Gaza. As a result, any PA government that includes the terrorist group would likely lose such funding unless Hamas decides to comply with the conditions set by the Quartet of peacekeeping nations (EU, United Nations, U.S. and Russia). Those conditions include the obligation to recognize Israel's right to exist, to renounce violence and to uphold all agreements signed by previous PA governments with Israel and others.

Hamas has repeated refused to acquiesce to any of the conditions set by the Quartet.