Rami, we hardly knew ye

In the ninth year of his four-year term, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently forced the resignation of the widely respected caretaker Salam Fayyad as Prime Minister. Abbas appointed one Rami Hamdallas to succeed him. We noted Hamdallah’s appointment here.

Secretary Kerry praised Hamdallah’s appointment while encouraging a return to negotiations for a two-state solution. In a congratulatory statement, Kerry said Hamdallah’s appointment “comes at a moment of challenge, which is also an important moment of opportunity.”

Having been on the job for two weeks, Hamdallah tendered his resignation yesterday. Reuters notes that “[i]t was not immediately clear whether Abbas would accept the resignation by Hamdallah.”

Hamdallah in any event posted an explanation on his Facebook page saying his decision was due to “outside interferences in his powers and duties.” In other words, Jonathan Tobin (from whom I have adapted the heading for this post) explains, “even though Hamdallah was a Fatah member with no known political ambitions of his own, he still found it impossible to act as a façade for the PA kleptocracy.”

Whether Hamdallah stays or goes, and whoever his successor may be (if there is one), Secretary Kerry will maintain that this is an important moment of opportunity. In this topsy turvy world some things never change.

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