Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat—Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad tendered his resignation earlier this week over a dispute with President Mahmoud Abbas.
Fayyad’s resignation followed weeks of controversy between the two Palestinian leaders over the resignation of Finance Minister Nabil Qassis, as well as disagreements over a forthcoming draft budget. Relations between Abbas and Fayyad have always been strained, however the latter tendering his resignation is seen as unlikely to solve the problems besetting the Palestinian government.
A source close to Fayyad, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, revealed that the Palestinian prime minister had been contemplating resigning for a long period of time but had held off taking this decision out of respect for Abbas.
The source claimed that following the most recent dispute between the two Palestinian leaders over the resignation of Qassis—which Fayyad accepted and Abbas rejected—the prime minister took the decision to tender his resignation.
Sources informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Fayyad told his colleagues: “I am going.”
Fayyad had been scheduled to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas late last night to officially handover his letter of resignation but the meeting was postponed at the last minute. Reports indicate that the West is pressuring Abbas not to accept Fayyad’s resignation and to put an end to the divisive in-fighting that characterizes the Palestinian political scene, particularly as Washington is seeking to revive the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
The Palestinian source said: “There is a lack of harmony between the different components of the political system, and it has gone even beyond this to sabotage Fayyad.”
The most recent crisis between the two Palestinian leaders erupted over the resignation of Finance Minister Nabil Qassis. Qassis tendered his resignation to Fayyad on March 2 over a disputed draft budget. Despite this, President Abbas announced that he did not accept the finance minister’s resignation, stressing that Fayyad did not have the constitutional power to accept this resignation and ordered Qassis back to work. This ultimately made Fayyad’s position as prime minister untenable.
The US-educated Fayyad is a popular figure on the international scene. The former World Bank official is credited by Western powers with helping to create government institutions that the Palestinians will require if they are to gain independence from Israeli occupation.