Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Palestinian split widens as unity government quits


RAMALLAH (AFP) -- The Palestinian unity government formed last year in a bid to heal rifts between Hamas and president Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party resigned on Wednesday, an official said.

An aide to president Mahmoud Abbas said that prime minister Rami Hamdallah "handed his resignation to Abbas and Abbas ordered him to form a new government."

Discussions to form a new government would include consultations with the various Palestinian factions, including Hamas, he said.

Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh, however, told the official PA news agency WAFA that Hamdallah had not handed in his resignation.

Officials have said the planned dissolution of the government, made up of technocrats, had been under discussion for several months because of the cabinet's inability to operate in the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip.

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have condemned the unilateral dissolution of the government, a decision they say they were not consulted over.

"No one told us anything about any decision to change and no one consulted with us about any change in the unity government. Fatah acted on its own in all regards," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP Wednesday.

Khalid al-Batsh, a senior leader in Islamic Jihad, also condemned the "unilateral" move to dissolve the unity government. more