Palestinian Unity Government Breakup Averted Through Reshuffle

The Palestinian unity government yoking President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party and the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers won’t be dismantled.

Two weeks ago, a senior Abbas aide reported that the administration would resign within 24 hours and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah would stay in his post and form a new government.

Early Wednesday, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee said it ordered Hamdallah to “make minor changes” in the cabinet. Three vacant ministries will be filled and two junior ministers will be replaced, the committee said in a statement.

PLO executive committee member Ahmed Majdalani said by phone it was in the best interest of the Palestinian people to keep the unity government intact.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in an e-mailed statement that the group opposes any changes in the government that aren’t coordinated with it.

The governing alliance has been strained, with tensions between Hamas and Fatah over issues including extending the unity government’s influence in Gaza.

In other news, Yasser Abed Rabbo, general-secretary of the PLO executive committee, has been removed from his position, Majdalani told Voice of Palestine Radio. He didn’t give a reason. Abed Rabbo, a senior Palestinian official for decades, has been openly critical of Abbas on a range of issues.

For more, read this QuickTake: Hamas

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