Draining The SWAMP – They’re ALL Getting Replaced!

The Palestinian Authority announced that, in response to international pressures, it is forming a new cabinet with an aim towards reforming its government.

Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority for nearly two decades, released a presidential decree announcing the new government on March 28. Every new appointee is a virtual unknown on the international stage.

Mohammad Mustafa, longtime advisor to Abbas, has been appointed to the position of Prime Minister. Mustafa received his economics education in the U.S. and enjoys a reputation for political independence. He intends to form a technocratic government and has vowed to create a trust fund that will be politically independent to rebuild Gaza. He will also occupy the post of Foreign Minister.

Ziad Hab al-Rih, freshly appointed Interior Minister, is a member of the Fatah movement, a secular political party to which Abbas also belongs. Security forces are the responsibility of the Interior Minister. Ashraf al-Awar, who registered as a Fatah candidate in the 2021 elections (which are still on hold), will serve as Minister for Jerusalem Affairs.

Of the twenty-three incoming ministers, at least five hail from Gaza, but it is not clear at this time if they still reside in the territory.

The Palestinian Authority oversees some parts of the West Bank, which is currently under Israeli occupation. Its forces were expelled from Gaza following Hamas’s seizure of power in 2007. The Authority currently has no power in the contested Gaza strip.

Abbas is not popular among Palestinians. Recent years have yielded opinion poles which reveal that the vast majority want the resignation of the no now 88 year old Abbas.

While the United States has long pushed for the Palestinian Authority to return to administering Gaza once the war ends, and to work towards statehood for Palestine, Israel has roundly rejected this proposal. It prefers a future where a new unaffiliated Palestinian entity administers the territory in concert with Israeli authorities.