Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is now in the ninth year of his four-year term. He is an illegitimate leader of a kleptocratic pseudogovernment. Abbas recently forced the resignation of the widely respected caretaker Salam Fayyad as Prime Minister and has now appointed one Rami Hamdallas to succeed him. Hamdallah is president of An-Najah National University in Nablus.
In the Jerusalem Post, Abu Khaled Toameh reports that Secretary Kerry has praised the the appointment of Hamdallah 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.” In this topsy turvy world some things never change.
On the Gatestone Institute site, Toameh explains the significance of Hamdallah’s appointment:
Abbas and Fatah want a weak prime minister who would never pose a threat to their hegemony over the Palestinian issue.
Until last week, many Palestinians were convinced that Abbas would be forced by the US Administration and the Europeans to keep Fayyad in office.
Western donors even threatened to suspend financial aid to the Palestinian Authority if Abbas insisted on removing Fayyad.
But in the end Abbas and Fatah got exactly what they wanted. Not only did they manage to get rid of Fayyad, but the man who has been chosen to replace him will be less problematic than Fayyad.
For Abbas and Fatah, Fayyad, a widely respected economist, posed a real problem and threat. As long as Fayyad was prime minister, it was almost impossible for Abbas and Fatah to lay their hands on hundreds of millions of dollars of international aid.
Fayyad was not only blocking Abbas and Fatah from seizing the funds; he was also beginning to pose a political challenge to them.
Abbas and Fatah leaders in the West Bank suspected that Fayyad had political ambitions, including running one day in a presidential election.
Yet more important than getting rid of Fayyad was finding an uncharismatic and inexperienced figure who would play the role of the loyal and dutiful servant of Abbas and Fatah leaders.
If getting rid of Fayyad was a victory, the appointment of Hamdallah, a “yes man” with no political experience, is even a bigger achievement.
Abbas wanted and finally got a prime minister who will play the same role as the prime ministers of Jordan and other undemocratic Arab countries.
Unlike Fayyad, Hamdallah will now serve as the obedient and faithful servant of Abbas, as well as the Fatah and PLO leadership.
This is exactly what they have wanted — a powerless prime minister who would rubber-stamp their decisions and plans.
A little bit further down in his post, Abu Toameh adds: “The appointment of Hamdallah does not mean anything for the peace process. Moreover, it will not bring about real changes, if any, in the Palestinian Authority’s economic and security strategies. The appointment of Hamdallah shows that Abbas continues to act as if the Palestinian Authority is his private fiefdom.”