Palestine: Unity government reshuffled, Hamas calls it coup d’état

The Palestinian Authority, on Thursday, announced that a long awaited reshuffle of the Palestinian cabinet had been agreed upon but Hamas rejected the move citing that it is illegitimate.

Despite Hamas’s position, the new cabinet members are expected to be sworn at the Palestinian Presidential headquarters in Ramallah after the Friday prayers.

Speculations about the reshuffle have been going on for the past couple of months and a Fatah council meeting held last month announced that the entire government will be dissolved but the recent announcement seems to be much like a reform.

Palestinian officials said the reshuffle of the Unity government was agreed upon. The unity government was formed in June 2014 in a bid to end division between the Fatah-led Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Hamas, but has so far been unsuccessful in doing so.

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said the announcement made by the Palestinian Authority should be termed as a coup d’état under the agreement of the unity deal because the partial reshuffle is “unconstitutional and outside consensus.” He said the new cabinet represents a separatist government.

Local reports stated that the new minister of local governance will be Hussein al-Araj, formerly deputy minister of local governance and governor of the Nablus and Hebron districts while Sabri Saydam will head the education ministry after having served as the minister of communications and information technology. Samih al-Abed will be the minister of transportation and Sufian Sultan will hold the agriculture portfolio. Abeer Odeh is now the new national economy minister.

Nineteen ministry positions remain unchanged. In the current government, four ministers hold positions as heads of multiple ministries.

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