The Palestinian Authority government submitted its resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday at a time when behind-the-scenes negotiations are intensifying to reform Palestinian political leadership in the context of the “post-war” in Gaza.

“I presented the resignation of the government to Mr. President on February 20 and I am submitting it today in writing,” Mohammed Shtayyeh, head of the Palestinian government since spring 2019, solemnly declared Monday morning in Ramallah.

President Mahmoud Abbas did not immediately react to this announcement from the Shtayyeh government which comes, according to the latter, “in light of developments linked to the aggression against Gaza” and the “escalation” of violence in the occupied West Bank since the start of the war between Israel and the Palestinian movement Hamas on October 7.

In recent months, many Palestinians have criticized President Mahmoud Abbas, 88, for his “helplessness” in the face of Israeli raids in the Gaza Strip, and even called for his resignation.

“The next step requires new governmental and political measures that take into account the new reality in the Gaza Strip (…), an urgent need for an inter-Palestinian consensus” and the creation of a Palestinian state with authority over the West Bank and Gaza, Mr. Shtayyeh said

Since fratricidal clashes in June 2007, the Palestinian leadership has been divided between the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, which exercises limited power in the West Bank, territory occupied since 1967 by Israel, while Hamas controls the Gaza Strip.

– Post-war plans –
The resignation of the Shtayyeh government comes before a meeting of Palestinian factions in Moscow and as regional and Western countries and opponents of Mahmoud Abbas are pleading for a reformed Palestinian Authority ultimately responsible for the West Bank and Gaza under the banner of an independent Palestinian state.

In an interview last week with AFP, opponent Nasser al-Kidwa, nephew of the late Yasser Arafat, called for an “amicable divorce” with Mahmoud Abbas and a new unity of political leadership. Palestinian, including some members of Hamas.

For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed last week his first “post-war” plan, which provides for the maintenance of Israel's “security control” in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, an eventuality rejected by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

The plan, which does not provide for the creation of a Palestinian state, was criticized by the United States, Israel's first ally, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken opposing any “reoccupation” of the strip. from Gaza, from which the Israeli army withdrew in 2005.

The war was provoked on October 7 by an unprecedented attack carried out in Israel by Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza, which resulted in the death of at least 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count. based on official Israeli data.

In retaliation, Israel vowed to annihilate Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007 and which it considers, along with the United States and the European Union, to be a terrorist organization.

The Israeli offensive has left 29,782 dead in Gaza, the vast majority civilians, since October 7, according to the latest report from the Hamas Ministry of Health.

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