Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Air Algerie investigation continues

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Dozens of youths trampled to death on Conakry beach

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll tops 700

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

UNRWA official breaks down over Gaza deaths

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Renault's women drivers ad deemed sexist

Read more

FOCUS

Constitution prohibits Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

  • Kerry, Ban announce 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    Read more

  • Investigators reach MH17 site amid 24-hour ceasefire

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

Middle east

New Palestinian PM is a good man on a suicide mission

© Kremlin

Text by HAARETZ

Latest update : 2013-06-03

The new Palestinian prime minister, Rami Hamdallah (left), takes the helm of a Palestinian Authority in severe economic crisis and will soon discover that he is more or less on his own, says Barak Ravid of Haaretz.

No one envies Rami Hamdallah. The 54-year-old linguistics professor and president of An-Najah National University was appointed on Sunday as the new Palestinian prime minister, and in doing so assumed overnight the most ungrateful job in the West Bank. His chances of success are so low that some would say agreeing to take the post is akin to taking a suicide mission.

The headaches and troubles will start haunting Hamdallah immediately. He will quickly discover that he is more or less alone in his mission; Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas isn't interested in the daily business of running the Palestinian Authority. While Hamdallah will be forced to handle a new crisis every morning, the Palestinian president will continue flying to all corners of the earth, walking on red carpets and shaking hands with world leaders.

Hamdallah is receiving a Palestinian Authority in the midst of a severe economic crisis. It will be impossibly hard for him to follow Salam Fayyad's act. His first mission will be to safeguard the fragile budget of the Palestinian Authority and to ensure that thousands of clerks and security personnel receive their salaries.

In order to do so, Hamdallah wil have to persuade the United States and the other donor states that he is a serious, honest, corruption-free partner, at least as much as Fayyad was. Hamdallah does not enjoy the international status of his predecessor, and is relatively unknown in Washington and in European capitals. If the West senses that there is no responsible adult safeguarding the Palestinian coffer, the donations that keep the Palestinian Authority alive will soon be halted.

Hamdallah's only advantage over Fayyad is that Abbas trusts him. At least his first days in office will be free from the tension that colored relations between the Palestinian president and the prime minster in recent years. Furthermore, despite terming himself a political independent, many Fatah leaders consider him "one of their own," unlike Fayyad, who was despised and continually subjected to attempts of sabotage. Hamdallah will probably receive the support of Fatah members.

Hamdallah will also have to deal with a deep inner crisis as a result of the lack of progress in the reconciliation talks with Hamas. Formally, he is supposed to head a transition government that will serve until the elections, but even the most optimistic scenarios do not envision these elections happening in the foreseeable future.

The new prime minister enters office two weeks before Abbas is due to decide whether he is headed toward resuming peace talks and warming relations with Israel, or opting for the continuation of one-sided moves at the United Nations, together with a face-off with the U.S. and Israeli administrations. At present, it seems that Abbas will choose the latter.

Hamdallah is considered moderate and pragmatic as far as Israel and the peace process goes, but it is doubtful that he will have any influence in the foreseeable future. A political crisis that will follow a failure of Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts to renew negotiations could easily erupt and become a security crisis in the form of a new Intifada in the West Bank.

Hamdallah is familiar with crises. A decade ago, he experienced a personal tragedy when his wife and three daughters were killed in a car accident. He managed to overcome the blow and continue his work at An-Najah and the central elections committee. Now he will need to leave the comforts of the academic world and dirty his hands with Palestinian politics. We wish him success.

By Barak Ravid, Haaretz

© Read premium content from leading Israeli daily Haaretz on FRANCE 24

Date created : 2013-06-03

  • SYRIA

    Pro-Assad troops reclaim airbase near Qusair

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    US calls on Hezbollah to leave Syrian conflict

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syrian rebel chief warns Hezbollah over aiding Assad

    Read more

COMMENT(S)