Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

Premier Quits to Help Unify Palestinians

Posted by gaetanoditommaso su 7 marzo, 2009

JERUSALEM — Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, on Saturday submitted his government’s resignation, saying he hoped that it would help efforts to form a Palestinian unity government with the Islamic group Hamas.

A statement from his office said the resignation would take effect no later than the end of March.

Over the years, Mr. Fayyad, a political independent and an American-educated economist, who also serves as finance minister, has gained the trust of Washington and the international community. The announcement was bound to raise anxiety, coming just days after international donors pledged about $4.4 billion in economic assistance for the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and for rebuilding Gaza.

The United States pledged $900 million to the Palestinian Authority, a third of it intended for rebuilding in Gaza after Israel’s recent 22-day military offensive there.

Still, it was not clear whether the resignation would, in the end, be accepted by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, who leads Fatah, the mainstream party that is Hamas’s rival.

The Palestinian groups are expected to begin a dialogue in Cairo this week on the details of a unity government. Mr. Abbas told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday that he had asked Mr. Fayyad to “continue with his work until we see the results” of the talks. An Abbas aide, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, suggested that if the talks failed, Mr. Abbas could ask Mr. Fayyad to stay on, The Associated Press reported.

The resignation announcement was widely seen as a conciliatory gesture to Hamas.

But a senior adviser to Mr. Fayyad said it was also intended as “a shock to the system” and a message to Israel and the United States. The adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the resignation with reporters, said that Mr. Fayyad felt that he was being “taken for granted” by Israel and the United States, especially because Israel had continued construction in the West Bank, and the United States had not done enough to stop this.

Mr. Fayyad, 56, is unpopular with Hamas and has made enemies within Fatah, some of whose members felt sidelined by his government in Ramallah.

He served as the finance minister in a previous unity government established in March 2007. That government was led by Hamas, which won parliamentary elections in 2006, and included some members of Fatah, but it never gained the international recognition it craved.

In June 2007, after a brief but bloody factional war, Hamas seized control of Gaza, routing the pro-Fatah forces loyal to Mr. Abbas.

Mr. Abbas then fired the government and appointed Mr. Fayyad to lead a caretaker government made up mainly of technocrats. Hamas rejected the move and set up its own administration to rule Gaza. Mr. Fayyad’s government, therefore, governed only in the West Bank. The separation of the two territories has further complicated efforts to achieve a Palestinian state.

The Palestinians’ need for national reconciliation increased after Israel’s offensive in Gaza, with the international community refusing to channel any reconstruction funds through Hamas. The United States, the European Union and Israel classify Hamas as a terrorist organization and refuse to deal with it unless it renounces all violence, recognizes Israel’s right to exist and accepts previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

Egypt brokered preliminary talks between the Palestinian groups in late February. Hamas and Fatah leaders announced the establishment of committees to find formulas for a new Palestinian unity government and new elections, among other things. The committees are scheduled to convene this week and finish their work by the end of March.

“We believe that the positive atmosphere embodied by the first round of the dialogue is a precious opportunity that should be utilized to terminate the current state of fragmentation,” Mr. Fayyad’s letter to Mr. Abbas said.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, said his group was “not sorry to see the resignation of Fayyad and his government,” according to Agence France-Presse. “This is the end we expected because this government is illegitimate and illegal and built on failed and mistaken policies connected to American agendas.”

Khaled Abu Aker contributed reporting from Ramallah, and Taghreed El-Khodary from Sharm el Sheik, Egypt.http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/world/middleeast/08mideast.html?ref=world

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