Photo: AFP
Will Abbas declare crisis government?
Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP
Arrested Hamas officials
Photo: AFP
Photo: Reuters
Results of IDF attack
Photo: Reuters

Abbas pressed to set up crisis government

Palestinian president under pressure to declare emergency situation in PA, establish temporary crisis government, to fill vacuum due to Israel's arrest of Hamas lawmakers. Others assess Abbas will wait until unity government set up in early July

Palestinian Authority and Fatah officials are pressuring Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to declare a state of emergency in the PA and to announce the establishment of a crisis government until the next election.


Following the wave of arrests by Israel of senior Hamas members, government ministers and lawmakers, and since many remaining Hamas leaders have since gone into hiding, the officials called on Abbas to act post haste to fill the resulting vacuum in the Palestinian leadership. Officials explained that the Hamas government was inoperative and therefore it was unavoidable that Abbas declare a crisis situation.


Abbas’ associates were waiting to see how the tense situation in Gaza would progress following the kidnap of Israeli soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit and the resulting IDF rescue operation in Gaza dubbed “Summer Rains.” Fatah leaders were waiting to see how Hamas would respond in the next few days and whether the Palestinian government would announce the appointment of new ministers to replace those under arrest.


“Hamas does not currently have the ability to manage the Palestinian parliament, make laws and supervise the cabinet. It is no longer a normal government, and therefore Abbas must act quickly to fill the void. The situation could have implications for the whole Palestinian political system, and may even affect the situation on the street and aggravate the anarchy in the territories,” a close associate of Abbas told Ynet.


The Palestinian president was expected to consult on the matter with leaders from the Arab world, including Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordanian King Abdullah II as well as American diplomats.


Waiting for unity government


Meanwhile, another Palestinian official assessed that Abbas was not likely to take such a step, rather the Palestinian president would probably wait until a unity government was established in the PA, as was agreed by the factions this week.

Empty Palestinian parliament (Photo: AFP)


“Some of the Hamas representatives in government were on the verge of being switched with members of other factions anyway, since the unity government was slated to be set up in the first half of July,” the official said.


The same official assessed that Abbas could not take such an extreme step, despite its necessity. “The events in Gaza necessitate speedy decisions on the establishment of the unity government, and therefore I believe no emergency government will be set up.”


Hamas officials, on their part, insist that the government will continue its work as usual. Deputy Chairman of the PLC, Ahmad Bakhar, said that the government would continue operating despite the siege of Gaza and the wave of arrests.


During a press conference in Gaza, Bakhar said Israel’s operations would not stop the cabinet from continuing its missions. He called on the international community to rally to stop Israel’s attack “against the Palestinian people and their institutions.”


פרסום ראשון: 06.29.06, 16:07
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