Ali Waked
May 13, 2009 - 11:00pm,7340,L-3715723,00.html

The swearing-in ceremony for the new Palestinian government headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad scheduled to take place on Tuesday has been postponed by several days due to widespread objection within Fatah regarding its makeup.

Fatah is demanding control over the appointment of its members to the cabinet rather than the current arrangement, which grants Fayyad sole power.

The presence of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Fayyad at Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Bethlehem on Wednesday gave both a brief respite from the political turmoil in Ramallah, where the political battle continued.

Prominent Fatah members such as Ahmed Qureia and Azzam al-Ahmad demanded to see Fayyad removed from office, and said the task of forming the new government should be given to someone else from within Fatah.

Fatah's leadership also ordered all party members to consult them before agreeing to join Fayyad's government.

Fayyad has so far rejected Fatah's demand to be involved, and the swearing-in ceremony has been postponed until the two sides can reach an agreement.

Over the course of the evening Fatah leaders have also proposed that the new government only be formed after the completion of negotiations with rival Palestinian faction Hamas, which are expected to be renewed in the near future.

Ynet has learned that one of the points of contention is the position of foreign minister. Fatah would like to see former PLO ambassador to the United Nations, Nasser al-Kidwa, appointed to the post. Al-Kidwa is the nephew of the late Yasser Arafat.

Hamas meanwhile has asserted that the formation of the new government is an attempt to pressure the Islamic group to accept Fatah's terms. In a meeting held by representatives of the Palestinian 'resistance' organizations in Damascus over the weekend, the new government was rejected as "illegal." The meeting was attended by exiled Hamas politburo chief, Khaled Mashaal and Ahmad Jibril, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command.

Fatah and Hamas formed a unity government in March 2007, but it only lasted several months. It dissolved in June of that year with Hamas' bloody takeover of the Gaza Strip.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017