Abbas names Mohammad Mustafa as new PA prime minister

A longtime member of the P.A.’s ruling Fatah Party, he sits on the executive committee of the Abbas-led PLO.

By JNS

Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas signed a decree appointing economist Mohammad Mustafa as the P.A.’s new prime minister, Ramallah’s official Wafa news agency reported on Thursday night.

Mustafa replaces Mohammad Shtayyeh, who announced his resignation on Feb. 26, along with that of his entire administration.

Mustafa, 69, was born in the village of Kafr Sur, near Tulkarm in northern Samaria, and holds a Ph.D. in business administration and economics from George Washington University.

A longtime member of the P.A.’s ruling Fatah Party, he sits on the executive committee of the Abbas-led Palestine Liberation Organization.

In 2015, Abbas appointed Mustafa as chair of the P.A.’s billion-dollar Palestine Investment Fund.

A year earlier, as Ramallah’s minister of economy, he oversaw the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip in the wake of Israel’s military operation against the Hamas terrorist group.

On Monday, Lebanon’s Al-Modon cited a Palestinian official as saying that Mustafa intends to appoint some new faces, with the exception of Ibrahim Khraishi, the P.A. Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, who will reportedly be asked to head Ramallah’s foreign ministry.

Abbas’s decree assigns Mustafa 11 tasks, including rebuilding the Gaza Strip in the wake of the war against Hamas; unifying the coastal enclave with Judea and Samaria; reforming Ramallah’s governing institutions; and preparing for the first Palestinian elections since 2006.

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The Biden administration wants the P.A. to assume control of Gaza after Israel’s military operation against Hamas ends—a move that Jerusalem vehemently rejects because of Ramallah’s overt support for terrorism.

Sources in Ramallah told Sky News Arabia last month that Hamas approved a three-phase plan leading to “complete reconciliation [with Fatah]” and the Gaza-based terror group joining Abbas’s Palestine Liberation Organization, which controls the Palestinian Authority.

Negotiations for Hamas to back Mustafa’s government hit a snag on Sunday when the terror group announced that it would demand the inclusion of exiled Fatah rival Mohammed Dahlan in the coalition.

In response to the announcement, senior Abbas adviser Mahmoud al-Habash sharpened his tone towards the terror group, telling Al Arabiya television that “what Hamas needs to do is to hand over all responsibility for the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority.”

According to recent polls, 89% of Palestinians support establishing a government that includes or is led by Hamas. Only around 8.5% said they favor an authority controlled exclusively by Fatah.

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