Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appointed Dr. Rami Hamdallah on Sunday, as the new prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. He will replace Salam Fayyad.
With Dr. Hamdallah replacing Salam Fayyad, his first task is to assemble a new cabinet and new government.
President Abbas announced the new appointment of Dr. Hamdallah during a meeting at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah.
Dr. Hamdallah is a senior academic, and the head of the Palestinian Authority’s electoral commission.
Who Is Dr. Hamdallah?
Reports say Dr. Hamdallah is not affiliated with any particular Palestinian political parties. He is a British-educated English professor who has been the dean of the Palestinian al-Najah University in the West Bank for the last 15 years.
Outgoing Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced his resignation in April and formally leaves office later this month.
US Congratulates Dr. Rami Hamdalla On The New Position
US Secretary of State John Kerry issued a press statement, congratulating Dr. Rami Hamdallah as the next Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.
Secretary Kerry says his appointment comes at a moment of challenge, which is also an important moment of opportunity.
He states that Palestine can choose the path of a negotiated two-state settlement that will allow Palestinians to fulfill their legitimate aspirations, and continue building the institutions of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state that will live in peace, security, and economic strength alongside Israel.
“We also recognize the extraordinary contributions of outgoing Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad, who has worked tirelessly to build effective Palestinian institutions.” – Secretary Kerry
Fayyad has been prime minister since 2007. He was a political independent and is based in the West Bank.
Reports say Fayyad has developed closer ties with Western leaders and some would like him to stay on as prime minister for the years to come.
US Policy On Palestine
Earlier this year, highlighting the importance of direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine to advance peace in Middle East, the United States today reiterated that the United States does not consider UNGA resolution 67/19 as bestowing Palestinian “statehood” or recognition.
It is clear that the November 29, 2012 vote in the General Assembly has not brought the Palestinians any closer to the common goal of achieving a state.
The US reiterates the only way to establish a real Palestinian state is through the painstaking work of direct negotiations on final status issues, without preconditions, between the Israelis and Palestinians.
US asserts that UNGA Resolution 67/19 cannot be viewed as establishing terms of reference or as prejudging any final status issues, notably with respect to territory. These are simply inescapable facts.
The United States remains fully committed to direct negotiations, and will continue to work vigorously toward that end.
US On Israel’s Settlements In West Bank
In December 2012, the United States expressed opposition to Israel’s decision to build more than 3,000 new settlements in the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem.
The United States has opposed all unilateral actions, including West Bank settlement activity and housing construction in East Jerusalem.
The US has made clear to the Israeli Government that such action is contrary to U.S. policy.
The US and the international community expect all parties to play a constructive role in efforts to achieve peace.
In June 2012, the Israeli Government had announced its plans to build 300 new units in the Palestinian territory at the Beit El settlement.
It was reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the construction of the new units just hours after the parliament rejected a bill to legalize settlement outposts.
In addition, a new United Nations report revealed that Palestinian development is hampered by ongoing expansion of Israeli settlements.
The UN report highlighted that the situation of workers in the occupied Arab territories remains “extremely worrying and precarious.”
International Labour Organization Report
According to the International Labour Organization, the ‘Area C’ of the West Bank, which they consider to be an essential part of a future Palestinian state, continues to be under full Israeli control, with Palestinians denied access to their livelihoods and to one another.
The report – The situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories – appears as an appendix in the ILO Director-General’s annual report to the 101st International Labour Conference, taking place in Geneva.
The report notes that the deteriorating conditions for workers are due to the realities of the occupation on the ground and the unabated expansion of Israeli settlements.
The report also notes the need for the Middle East peace process to encompass institutions and policies for job creation, social dialogue, gender equality, social security, and fair incomes.
Effects Of The Six Day War
Israel captured East Jerusalem along with the West Bank and Gaza in the Six-Day War in 1967, but annexed the city as its united capital in a move not recognized by the international community. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as capital of their future State.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled since late September last year following Israel’s refusal to extend a 10-month freeze on settlement activity. That decision prompted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Just prior to that decision, the Palestinians, who had taken little interest in peace talks for the past year, tried to do an end-run around Israel, at the United Nations.