Palestinians weigh fate of consensus government

Inability to operate in Gaza Strip cited as reason for possible disbanding amid talk of Hamas-Israel truce.

    Palestinians weigh fate of consensus government
    Hamdallah has attended several meetings to decide the future of the national consensus government [AFP]

    Palestinians are discussing the fate of their consensus government after President Mahmoud Abbas announced that it would resign within the next 24 hours over its inability to operate in the Gaza Strip.

    The consensus government was formed a year ago, comprising members of Abbas' Fatah and rival Hamas factions, with its headquarters in Ramallah in the West Bank.

    Hamas officials and spokespersons condemned the reported moves towards disbanding the government.

    One year of Palestinian consensus government

    Al Jazeera's Nisreen El Shamayleh, reporting from Ramallah on Wednesday, said it is still unclear whether the cabinet would be reshuffled or reconstituted.

    "What is not clear yet is if this is going to be a cabinet reshuffle carried out by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, or if it is going to be a cabinet re-formation with a new candidate appointed as a prime minister and tasked with forming a new government.

    "We understand there is a meeting [scheduled] between Abbas and Hamdallah to discuss these two options.

    "We have heard from the Hamas spokesperson this morning, and he said that Hamas will reject any unilateral dissolution of the Palestinian consensus government without holding discussions and talks with all parties."

    Abbas was expected to meet Hamdallah in Ramallah at 1pm local time [10:00 GMT].

    A senior Palestinian official told Al Jazeera that at the conclusion of the meeting, a decision would be taken on whether to go ahead with proposed cabinet reshuffles or to form a new government.

    Indirect verbal exchanges 

    In a separate development, Hamas officials have confirmed the exchange of indirect verbal messages between Hamas and Israel through European Union, Turkish, and Qatari mediators.

    The messages concern a possible long-term, extendable ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, under which Israel would allow the construction of a floating sea port linking the Gaza Strip with the rest of the world.

    Against this background, Mousa Abu Marzouk, Hamas' deputy leader, and other Hamas officials arrived in Qatar on Tuesday to discuss the truce plan, reports say.

    Salah Bardawil, a senior Hamas leader and legislator, said: "There are a number of European officials who have put forward a verbal initiative for a potential long-term truce in the Gaza Strip that extends the ceasefire from three to five years.

    "So far, no vision or timetable for the implementation of the truce has crystallised."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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