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PNA cabinet reshuffle precedes public calls for change

02-16-2011 16:55 BJT

RAMALLAH, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- The government of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad resigned on Monday, a step considered by Palestinian observers as "a try proactive" of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to make political reforms in the aftermath of the popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.

Although the Palestinians still live under the Israeli occupation, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), which lost control of the Gaza Strip following fight with the Islamic Hamas movement, is still responsible for dozens of national and social issues overloaded within the past few years.

Analysts believe that the PNA is responding to what the region earlier witnessed, mainly the mass protests that dominated Tunisia and Egypt, by carrying out measures, which has been a popular demand for a long time. It seems the PNA is determined to take these measures to avoid similar unrest.

The credibility of the Palestinian factions have severely deteriorated amid the ongoing split between the Gaza Strip ruled by Hamas movement and the West Bank ruled by Abbas' Fatah party, in addition to the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians to reach a permanent agreement.

RESHUFFLE, THEN ELECTIONS

The reshuffle of the Palestinian government coincided with a decision made by Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee to hold the presidential and legislative elections before September, in addition to holding the municipal elections in July.

Khalil Shahin, a West Bank-based political analyst, told Xinhua the PNA measures "are an attempt to calm down the Palestinian public," adding that "the PNA felt the danger of the storm of change that hit the region, therefore, it wants to avoid another popular revolution in the future against it."

He played down the possibility that the cabinet reshuffle would have an impact on the performance of the authority and its institutions. "What is popularly needed is to go for a comprehensive preview of the Palestinian political situation, mainly the relationship with Israel and the internal split."

However, Palestinian sources close to Abbas said the president wanted the new government, which Fayyad was tasked to form within two weeks, to reinforce the readiness of the PNA institutions to establish the independent state of Palestine.


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