Palestinian Authority in freefall as Abbas claims he will "sack Fayyad"
Reports have claimed that even with Obama's ringing endorsement of Abbas and Fayyad, the former is due to sack the latter due to an ongoing dispute
It was mooted earlier this month by Khaled Abu Toameh in the Jerusalem Post, but the story that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Prime Minister Salam Fayyad have encountered an irreconcilable dispute has reached new highs.
A 'sharp dispute' apparently erupted between Abbas and Fayyad over the resignation of Finance Minister Nabil Qassis earlier this month. Qassis had decided to quit the Palestinian Authority government – a move that was rejected by Abbas. Qassis was Abbas’s choice for finance minister – a job that Fayyad held for the past four years. A few days later, however, Fayyad, in a surprise move, announced that he had accepted Qassis’s resignation. Fayyad’s announcement was seen by Palestinians as a direct challenge to Abbas.
“Fayyad does not want anyone else to control the Finance Ministry; he wants it for himself,” said one member of the legislative council.
A few weeks passed, and US President Barack Obama visited Israel and the West Bank, declaring that Israel has true partners for peace in the pair.
No sooner was the President concluding his visit however, when the news broke that Mahmoud Abbas is now seeking to sack his Prime Minister.
Abbas and the leaders of Fatah have reportedly become infuriated following cuts made to the salaries of Fatah's employees in Gaza last month. The cuts were taken for electricity charges. Employees loyal to Fatah stopped working when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
The Chinese news agency, Shinkhwa, reported that Abbas headed a meeting with Fatah leaders in the West Bank immediately after finishing an international tour. They discussed what happened with Qassis and threatened to resign from Fayyad's government.
Shinkhwa claimed that ahead of the US president's visit to Ramallah, Fayyad asked Abbas to arrange a meeting with Obama. However, Abbas furiously replied that Fayyad would be sacked within the next few days.
Shinkhwa also said that Abbas is planning to commission the Palestinian economist, Mohammed Mustafa, to form a new government in the wake of Fayyad's sacking.
Fatah leaders in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have severely criticised Fayyad's policies recently. "He wants to tear Fatah to pieces," member of Fatah's executive committee in the West Bank, Tawfiq al-Terawi, wrote on his facebook page earlier this week.
Al-Terawi also criticised Fayyad's inefficient economic policy. He said, "He failed to decide the annual budget because of his failed policies, which depend on illusive projects that are non-existent on the ground."
Meanwhile, Fatah senior leader in the Gaza Strip, Amal Hamad, described salary cuts to Fatah members in Gaza as "a disaster" with "disastrous consequences for the citizens who live in an already deteriorated economic situation."
The Washington Free Beacon reports that Abbas reportedly stopped talking to Fayyad in April 2012 after Fayyad refused to deliver a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The PA’s major donors, chief among them the United States, have long made it clear that they do not want Abbas to push Fayyad out of the government.
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