cloudy.png
Wednesday September 18th, 2019 6:11PM

Abbas picks ally for new Palestinian premier

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinian president on Sunday chose a longtime adviser, Mohammed Ishtayeh as his new prime minister, a step that deepens the rift with the Gaza Strip's ruling Hamas militant group.

The official Wafa news agency made the announcement, saying "President Abbas has given Mohammed Ishtayeh a mandate to form a government."

The announcement puts a strong proponent of peace talks with Israel, and a fierce critic of Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, in charge of day-to-day Palestinian affairs.

Ishtayeh, a British-educated economist, is a top official in Abbas' Fatah movement and veteran of past rounds of peace talks with Israel.

Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah forces in 2007, leaving the Palestinians torn between rival governments. Hamas continues to rule Gaza, while Abbas' internationally recognized Palestinian Authority administers autonomous areas of the West Bank.

Sunday's appointment reflects the failure of years of efforts to reconcile with Hamas.

Ishtayeh succeeds Rami Hamdallah, who had overseen a unity government formed nearly five years ago with the goal of reaching a conciliation deal with Hamas.

Those attempts made little headway, and collapsed a year ago when Hamdallah's motorcade was targeted by a roadside bomb in Gaza.

Hamdallah announced his resignation in January after years of failure in reconciliation efforts.

Fed up with the lack of progress, Abbas has slashed financial support for Gaza, adding to the hardship in a territory whose economy has been battered by an Israeli and Egyptian blockade. Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent Hamas from arming.

Ishtayeh is now expected to appoint a new Cabinet of Fatah supporters with a heavy focus only on the West Bank.

He inherits his own financial crisis in the West Bank. The United States, traditionally the leading donor to the Palestinian government, has slashed hundreds of millions of dollars of aid since President Donald Trump took office, citing the reluctance of Palestinian leaders to enter peace talks.

The Palestinians severed ties with the U.S. after Trump recognized contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital. They also have pre-emptively rejected a peace plan the U.S. is said to be developing, saying the U.S. is unfairly biased toward Israel.

The cuts in U.S. aid have hurt the Palestinian government. The Palestinians also recently said they would no longer accept monthly tax transfers from Israel, after Israel deducted sums of money the Palestinians pay to the families of people killed or imprisoned for attacks on Israel.

The Trump administration has cited the reluctance of Palestinian leaders to enter peace negotiations with Israel as the reason for such punitive measures.

Facing a cash crunch, the Palestinian Authority was unable to pay thousands of employees their full salaries last month.

"Israel is choking the economy and causing a financial crisis for the Palestinian Authority," Abbas said Sunday during a meeting with Israeli opposition politicians. "Despite this, we are maintaining our support for the two-state solution and fighting terrorism. Our money must be returned."

Ishtayeh, who is in his early 60s, has a Ph.D. in economic development from the University of Sussex, according to his website. He has held several senior positions, including public works minister and a past peace negotiator with Israel. He currently is head of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction, a body that works with international donors on economic development projects in the Palestinian territories.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Plane likely held major UN summit attendees
The Latest: Crashed plane likely held attendees of major UN environment summit in Nairobi
10:10AM ( 6 minutes ago )
The Latest: Ethiopian prime minister visits plane crash site
The Latest: Ethiopian prime minister visits plane crash site, orders full support for families
10:01AM ( 15 minutes ago )
North Korea goes to polls to rubber-stamp parliament lineup
Millions of North Korean voters, including leader Kim Jong Un, go to the polls to approve new parliament lineup, though the winners have already been chosen
9:54AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Top Algeria party seeks end of crisis on regime change calls
The top Algerian party backing beleaguered President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has broken its silence over massive demonstrations demanding the end of the regime, saying it's ready to work with all parties to end the crisis
9:21AM ( 55 minutes ago )
No survivors on crashed Ethiopian Airlines flight: state TV
Ethiopian Airlines flight crashes after takeoff with no survivors, says Ethiopian state TV
9:03AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Nationalities of Ethiopian crash victims emerge
The Latest: More nationalities of Ethiopian plane crash victims emerge; from Canada, China, US
8:31AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Turbulence injures 30 on flight from Istanbul to New York
Officials say severe turbulence injured 30 people aboard a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul that landed safely at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday
4:02AM ( 6 hours ago )
China's Yi affirms pledge to avoid devaluation for trade
China's central bank governor affirms promise to avoid manipulating currency to boost exports following US-China trade negotiations
1:00AM ( 8 hours ago )
China's Yi: Envoys discussed avoiding currency as trade tool
China's central bank says US, Chinese trade negotiators discussed avoiding 'competitive devaluation' to boost exports
11:45PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Business
US envoy in Kosovo to push for lifting of tax on Serbia
A senior U.S. official has met with Kosovo top leaders trying to convince Pristina to revoke or suspend a tariff on Serb goods so that dialogue with Serbia can resume
2:32PM ( 18 hours ago )
Trump offers budget with funds for border wall, Space Force
President Donald Trump will be making a significant request for border wall funds and seeking money to stand up Space Force as a new branch of the military
5:45AM ( 1 day ago )
Trump budget will seek funds for border wall, Space Force
President Donald Trump will be making a significant request for border wall funds and seeking money to start up Space Force as a new branch of the military in the White House budget being released next week
9:32PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Economy
Biden eyes fundraising challenge amid new sense of urgency
Questions about political fundraising are among the nagging issues as former Vice President Joe Biden considers whether to run for the White House in 2020
10:13AM ( 1 day ago )
China leads stock markets retreat on trade talks doubts
Shanghai leads retreat in world shares retreat on doubts over US-China trade deal
7:09AM ( 2 days ago )
Shanghai leads share retreat in Asia on trade talks doubts
Shanghai leads retreat in world shares retreat on doubts over US-China trade deal
4:34AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Business - Financial Markets
The Latest: Plane likely held major UN summit attendees
The Latest: Crashed plane likely held attendees of major UN environment summit in Nairobi
10:10AM ( 6 minutes ago )
The Latest: Ethiopian prime minister visits plane crash site
The Latest: Ethiopian prime minister visits plane crash site, orders full support for families
10:01AM ( 15 minutes ago )
North Korea goes to polls to rubber-stamp parliament lineup
Millions of North Korean voters, including leader Kim Jong Un, go to the polls to approve new parliament lineup, though the winners have already been chosen
9:54AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Brexit backers to UK prime minister: Don't delay
Two prominent Brexit backers are warning Prime Minister Theresa May not to seek a delay in Britain's March 29 departure from the European Union if her withdrawal deal is voted down Tuesday
9:30AM ( 46 minutes ago )
First time in Baghdad: Iran's president to visit Iraq
Iran's president to make first official visit to Iraq this week amid pressure from hard-liners, nuke deal unraveling
9:26AM ( 50 minutes ago )