Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: AP)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is exploring the possibility of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad being a candidate for the premiership in the coming Palestinian interim government. According to the reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo last week by all Palestinian factions and mainly the two arch rivals, Fatah and Hamas, a transitional government has to be appointed immediately.
Although there was some agreement between Fatah and Hamas to keep Fayyad out of the new government, Abbas sees the reappointing of Fayyad as sending "a positive message" to the international community, namely the US and the EU.
For his part, Abbas wants the new transitional government to reinstate the agenda of the Fayyad government, which was widely accepted by the Europeans.
Abbas will try to convinvce his Hamas partners to accept the reappointment of Fayyad to curb Israeli overtures to brand the new government as illegal and to ensure the flow of financial aid to support the Palestinian Authority and hence mantain its ability to pay salaries and expenses.
Meanwhile, sources argued that keeping Fayyad as prime minister would decrease pressure imposed by the US and EU on a new government to abide by the Quartet conditions — mainly recognition of Israel and commitment to international agreements that include putting an end to resistance to occupation, labelling it terrorism.
However, it is widely expected that both the Islamic Jihad and Hamas will obstuct the reappointment of Fayyad as both factions point to his record of oppressing resistance in addition to security coordination with Israel.
According to media sources close to Hamas, the Islamic movement is exploring a list of candidates for the premiership on the top of which comes Gamal El-Khodary, an independent MP, who heads the board of the Islamic University in Gaza.