A third meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his recently-appointed Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who suddenly “offered” his resignation on Thursday afternoon, was scheduled for Sunday morning at 11:00 — but it didn’t happen.
Instead, shortly after 10:15 or so, Presidential Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh told the Agence France Presse [AFP] that “President Abbas has accepted the resignation of Hamdallah after he refused to work with 2 deputies.” This was published here, and here.
President Abbas had appointed his economic adviser, Dr. Mohammed Mustafa, as one of two deputy prime ministers to serve with Abbas; Ziyad Abu Amr is the second.
Rami Hamdallah was clearly not a go-along, get-along kind of guy — in the circumstances, this is to his credit.
There was no [third] meeting this morning between President Abbas + Prime Minister Hamdallah, according to the Palestinian Government’s new Spokesperson, Dr. Ehab Bseisso — the statement from Presidential Spokesman Abu Rudeineh preempted the meeting.
Reports [in English] on Friday that Hamdallah had withdrawn his “offer” of resignation on Friday were later amended — it seems that Hamdallah had not retracted his resignation, and it remained on the table.
The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported, here, that “President Mahmoud Abbas accepted the resignation of newly-appointed prime minister Rami Hamdallah, who has been in office for less than a month, and asked him to stay on as a caretaker government until a new one is formed, presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said Sunday”.
Not long afterwards, two Tweets suddenly appeared on an account that had been opened in early June and declared the official Twitter account of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah [see our earlier post]:
Rami Hamdallah @PalestineGov — The President officially accepted my resignation. R.H.
Rami Hamdallah @PalestineGov — The situation in this country forced me to resign. Conflicts, confusion, corruption. Palestine needs a real political reform. R.H.
There is no indication, yet, that Hamdallah has agreed to stay on as “Caretaker” Prime Minister for another two tortuous weeks. [One report suggested that Abbas must name a new Prime Minister within two weeks.] But, a colleague who interviewed Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad today in Ramallah said that it might be seven weeks before a new government is in place . [However, al-Ahmad declined to repeat his remarks in a recorded interview.]
UPDATE: Apparently Hamdallah is staying on. Ma’an News Agency Tweeted on Monday morning that Hamdallah told their reporter in a statement that the Government “will pay salaries on time, without delay”...
After Then, the Government Media Center Tweeted this:
Gov. Media Center @PalestinianGov Ramallah-Government Media Center: Prime Minister D. Rami Hamdallah wishes to make clear that he does not have a… http://fb.me/1fisCXdyk
The full test of this statement, posted on the Facebook link, says:
Ramallah-Government Media Center: Prime Minister D. Rami Hamdallah wishes to make clear that he does not have a personal Twitter account. He stresses that the Palestinian Government Media Center is the official institution for issuing statements for the Prime Minister and the Palestinian government. PGMC Note: We urge all media to take care in reporting statements purported to be from the Prime Minister and emphasize the necessity of checking with the PGMC for confirmation of any statements.
This statement was issued shortly after I contacted Dr. Bseisso to ask about Dr. Hamdallah and Dr. Mustafa. Dr. Bseisso promised to call back with answers to some questions, but never did. [It makes no sense, however, to urge media to take care and to check with the Palestinian Government Media Center for confirmation, if calls are not returned.]
Was it with this Tweet that the Government Media Center took over this @PalestinianGov account?
The statement of denial [of having a “personal” Twitter account, which was not the question] is in Hamdallah’s name, but issued by the Government Media Center @PalestinianGov … In the absence of any further information, it is not unreasonable to continue to believe that the Hamdallah Tweet could be genuine, but someone doesn’t like it and wants to supress it. The other possibilities are deliberate sabotage [by someone with access to the this Twitter account], or the Twitter account was hacked. Neither possibility is mentioned by the statement issued by the Palestinian Government Media Center –+ it sure looks like damage control by someone who did not if not censorship.
Two Ramallah-based journalists had a laugh about it:
Dalia Hatuqa @DaliaHatuqa – lol @emilie_baujard: Pal Gov Media Center: PM Rami Hamdallah wishes to make clear that he does not have a personal Twitter account