Palestinian PM, government resign

There was no immediate comment from Abbas, but his Fatah faction, at a meeting he chaired two days ago, recommended that the government be replaced.
Tuesday 29/01/2019
Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah (L) talks to Hebron's governor Jibril al-Bakri during the opening ceremony of a medical centre in the village of Beit Ula, north of the West Bank city of Hebron on January 28, 2019. (AFP)
Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah (L) talks to Hebron's governor Jibril al-Bakri during the opening ceremony of a medical centre in the village of Beit Ula, north of the West Bank city of Hebron on January 28, 2019. (AFP)

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Al-Hamdallah has tendered his resignation and that of his unity government to President Mahmoud Abbas, he said on Tuesday, dealing a blow to faltering reconciliation efforts with Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers.

The government will continue to carry out its duties until a new one is formed, it said in a statement issued after a weekly cabinet meeting.

There was no immediate comment from Abbas, but his Fatah faction, at a meeting he chaired two days ago, recommended that the government be replaced. A Hamas official condemned the move as an attempt to marginalise and exclude the group from Palestinian politics.

Hamdallah, a little-known academic, headed the national unity government formed in 2014 and led the West Bank-based Fatah's reconciliation efforts with Hamas, which seized power in Gaza in 2007.

The two groups signed a reconciliation deal two years ago which set in motion a plan for Abbas's Palestinian Authority to resume governing in Gaza and take up control of the coastal enclave's crossing points into Egypt and Israel.

But disputes over power-sharing and disagreements over policy towards Israel have hampered the deal's implementation.

(Reuters)