Palestinian PM Shtayyeh resigns saying new administration needed to meet challenge of Gaza war

Dire necessity among Palestinians could have effect of healing 18-year rift between Hamas in Gaza and Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in West Bank

Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh formally submitted his cabinet’s resignation on Monday to prepare for the formation of a technocratic government by the Palestinian Authority. Mr Shtayyeh said new governmental arrangements must be made to meet the challenges posed by Israel’s war on Gaza and military escalation in the occupied West Bank, to create national unity and consensus and to prepare for postwar governance of Gaza and the West Bank.

President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to accept the government’s resignation and request it to remain in a caretaker capacity until the new government is formed of ministers approved by all Palestinian factions, including Hamas. The new government could be in place by the end of the week, according to the Dubai-based Asharq News television channel.

The new government is likely to be headed by Mohammed Mustafa, a former World Bank official who is the current head of the Palestine Investment Fund. His main job would be to plan for the reconstruction of Gaza. An independent authority would be created to rebuild homes, infrastructure and commercial and public facilities under the supervision of the World Bank.

Richard Kozul-Wright, a senior official with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, has said Gaza will need a “Marshall Plan” to recover from the war that began on October 7th and estimated that damage inflicted so far would cost about $20 billion (€18.4 billion) to rectify. Damage is four times greater than during Israel’s 2014 seven-week offensive in Gaza.


Dire necessity could heal the 18-year rift between Hamas in Gaza and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. This was precipitated by Hamas’s victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election and sealed when Hamas took control of Gaza in June 2007. Hamas’s price for going along with the proposed scenario could be membership of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which would remain under the leadership of Fatah’s Hussein al-Sheikh.

Since the rift opened, Mr Abbas has rebuffed reconciliation with Hamas and its demand for membership of the PLO, but he may no longer have a choice. Despite the deaths of nearly 30,000 Gazans, 70 per cent of them being women and children, and the devastation wreaked upon Gaza by the war, Hamas is far more popular than the Palestinian Authority. It has long been accused by disaffected Palestinians of mismanagement, corruption and providing security for Israel at the expense of West Bank Palestinians. Consequently, making common cause with Hamas could help rescue the authority.

The Biden administration has exerted increasing pressure on the authority to initiate major reforms in order to take over Gaza after Israel withdraws and prepare for the creation of a Palestinian state. This is seen by the international community as the sole means of ending the century-old Palestinian/Arab-Israeli conflict.

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has rejected the US plan to install the authority in Gaza and has argued that Hamas can have no future role in the strip. Last week, 99 of the 120 Israeli legislators backed Mr Netanyahu’s rejection of “the attempt to impose on us the establishment pf a Palestinian state, which would not only fail to bring peace but would endanger the state of Israel”.

Michael Jansen

Michael Jansen

Michael Jansen contributes news from and analysis of the Middle East to The Irish Times