Ma'an News Agency
February 15, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority cabinet shuffle is a "superficial change with no hint of reform," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Monday.

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad handed his cabinet's resignation letter to President Mahmoud Abbas following an early morning cabinet meeting Monday.

Barhoum said the move was a weak attempt to legitimize upcoming elections in the West Bank.

"What happened was simply a restructuring of the Fatah-controlled government, where Fatah maintains control of the West Bank in a move providing scant cover for the upcoming elections show," the Hamas official said.

Immediately after Fayyad tendered his cabinet's resignation, President Mahmoud Abbas appointed him back to the post of prime minister and charged him with appointing a new government.

Barhoum said the new government would remain illegitimate "because it was not the people who chose it, and it will not be approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council."

He also called on donor nations to stop financing the regime, which he said was "a coercive dictatorship which came to power by force." He urged the Palestinian people to refuse to grant the new government legitimacy.

Meanwhile, Hamas lawmaker Yahya Al-Abadisa said the move was entirely political. He said it was no coincidence that the cabinet was thrown out and PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat resigned just weeks after leaked PLO documents were published.

The Doha-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera recently published over 1,600 confidential PLO documents covering a decade of negotiations with Israel, which revealed wide gaps between official statements and concessions offered in talks.

Al-Abadisa said if the leaked papers prompted the move, then the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt which ousted their long-term leaders were the last straw.

"It is an attempt to stave off revolution," Al-Abadisa said.


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