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Palestinian govt mulls resigning over Gaza

AFP , Tuesday 16 Jun 2015
Hamdallah , Haniyeh
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (left) with Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh, October 9, 2014. (Photo : AP)
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The Palestinian government is considering resigning over its inability to act in the Gaza Strip, with two senior officials telling AFP the move would come within 24 hours.

"The government will resign in the next 24 hours because this one is weak and there is no chance that Hamas will allow it to work in Gaza," said Amin Maqbul, secretary general of the ruling Fatah movement's Revolutionary Council.

The government's intention was confirmed by another senior Palestinian official who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.

The Islamist Hamas movement ruled Gaza for seven years but its administration stepped down last June when the Ramallah-based consensus government was sworn in.

Comprised of independent technocrats, the government lineup was agreed by both Fatah and Hamas and was given a mandate to govern both the West Bank and Gaza, ending seven years of separate administrations.

But in practice, it has been unable to extend its authority to Gaza, which was devastated by an Israel deadly 50-day war on the strip last summer and where Hamas remains the de facto power.

"After the government resigns, we will start consultations to form a new government," Maqbul told AFP, without saying whether the new lineup would be pieced together in consultation with Hamas.

A government source confirmed that the idea had been under discussion for weeks, although he denied it was imminent.

He said it was linked to the government's "inability to act in Gaza".

"There have been discussions inside the government about resigning if they are unable to do anything for Gaza," he told AFP.

He said the move had been under discussion since a government delegation was forced to cut short a trip to Gaza in late April over a long-running and bitter dispute with Hamas over employees.

A 40-strong government delegation, including eight ministers, arrived in Gaza on April 19 for a week-long trip but was forced to leave a day later after Hamas accused the officials of bias in resolving a dispute over salaries.

The formation of the consensus government followed an April 2014 reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah which sought to end seven years of bad blood between the two Palestinian nationalist movements.

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