Abbas Accepts Resignation of Newly Appointed Palestinian PM Hamdallah

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah made the surprise announcement on Thursday, following an apparent dispute with his deputies; sources said Friday he was like to retract the resignation.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday accepted the resignation of newly appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who announced on Thursday that he was quitting just two weeks after taking office.

Hamdallah made his decision public following an apparent dispute between the prime minister and his two deputies, Mohammed Mustafa and Ziad Abu Amr, who also serve as senior advisers to Abbas. The disputes apparently involved interference with Hamdallah's authority and the scope of his activities.

Sources within Abbas' bureau told Haaretz that the president was furious that Hamdallah had resigned so suddenly, announcing it publicly before informing him:

“There is a feeling here that Abu Mazen is very angry with this move but has not yet decided whether to accept the resignation, once again embarking on choosing from a mix of possible names and all the speculations about the next prime minister, or whether to sort out the issues with the prime minister and his deputies."

Hamdallah met with Abbas on Friday, after which sources said it seemed likely that he would rescind his decision to resign.

According to sources in the Palestinian Authority, Abbas is expected to begin consultations over a replacement for Hamdallah within hours. Among the candidates is Muhammad Shtayyeh, a senior advisor to Abbas who is involved in the diplomatic contacts with the U.S. Shtayyeh, a longtime Fatah official, enjoys support from the party's younger members as well as its leaders.

Mustafa, who also heads the Palestine Investment Fund, and Abu Amr, a former foreign minister, are considered close to Abbas and the Fatah party he leads, and are also likely frontrunners to replace Hamdallah within the two-week interim period mandated by Palestinian law.