Palestinian Authority announces new cabinet amid US pressure

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinian Authority named new cabinet members on Thursday, promising to form a new technocratic government to help rebuild Gaza and combat endemic corruption.

Mohammad Mustafa, who was appointed prime minister earlier this month, announced the list of 22 new ministers who will join him in the government in a statement to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and outlined his vision.

The shake-up at the top of the Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, comes amid pressure from the United States and other international communities to present a new look – in the slim hope that the institution can overcome its credibility problems . Play a role in managing what’s left of the Gaza Strip in the wake of Israel’s ongoing military campaign.

Israel has vowed to crack down on Hamas, which came to power in Gaza after a violent overthrow of authorities in 2007. Israel’s targeting of key figures in the Hamas-led government – not just military leaders but also civil servants such as police – has led to a chaotic power vacuum, particularly in the aid-starved north.

White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Thursday that a “reformed and reinvigorated” Palestinian Authority could work to meet “the aspirations of the Palestinian people,” adding that “any broad judgment on this particular new administration is now in the future.” It’s still too early.”

Analysts say there are no surprises in the new cabinet. “Nothing new,” said Tareq Baconi, chairman of the board of directors of Palestinian think tank Al-Shabaka. “Just a cosmetic tweak to a body that has become a central pillar of Israeli apartheid.”

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The cabinet appears to be designed to address international pressure on corruption and governance, while also addressing widespread apathy and dissatisfaction with the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority was established following the 1993 Oslo Accords governing the Palestinian territories.

Mustafa said in a statement that he was creating a nonpartisan government that would not only help rebuild Gaza but also fight corruption and unify divided Palestinian institutions.

However, the statement did not address the Palestinian Authority’s lack of authority in Gaza.

It has not yet indicated that Abbas, 88, will give up the presidency.The octogenarian leader Twenty years in power But he has not held an election in 18 years, despite his government’s growing unpopularity among Palestinians.

A poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research Released in December The survey found that more than 90% of West Bank Palestinians want Abbas, better known as Abu Mazen, to step down.

“We will find alternatives to Hamas” so that the IDF “can fulfill its mission,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant said during a recent visit to Washington. The United States has urged Abbas to make major reforms to the Palestinian Authority in the hope that the institution will eventually help rebuild Gaza and provide Israelis and Palestinians a potentially acceptable alternative to Hamas.

Mustafa was appointed prime minister on March 14, dashing the hopes of many. Mustafa, an economist from George Washington University with a PhD, has been seen as a close ally of Abbas, and his appointment was seen as a sign that Abbas plans to retain political control rather than retreat.

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Mustafa said in a statement on Thursday that he would also serve as foreign minister, ending speculation about who would take one of the most high-profile cabinet posts.

Several other prominent figures were also appointed to the cabinet. Mohammed Amor, who had served as president of the Palestinian Businessmen’s Association, was appointed economy minister. Ziad Haab Rih, who had served as head of the Palestinian Authority’s internal intelligence agency, continues to serve as interior minister.

Raquela Karamson, a spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, told reporters after the announcement that Israeli officials doubted whether the new cabinet would change controversial Palestinian Authority policies, such as Payments to families of persons imprisoned by Israel for terrorism offenses.

“If this continues, there will be no change and no reason to form a new cabinet,” Karamson said.

In the West Bank, some Palestinians expressed doubts about the effectiveness of Thursday’s move.

“The solution is to form a national unity government and consult with all factions,” said Muhammed Ali, 57, a real estate developer in Shuafat. “What will happen to this government after the war in Gaza is over? It will lose legitimacy and collapse.”

Lior Soroka contributed to this report.

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By Ali Raza

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