Hamas terrorist group appoint new prime minister in Gaza
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As the new government was being sworn in in Israel, Hamas announced that its new prime minister assumed office in the Gaza Strip on Sunday.
The new premier, Issam al-Da’alis, succeeded Dr. Mohammed Awad, who resigned after two years in the job. It was not clear why Awad submitted his resignation.
The handover ceremony for the Hamas prime minister was held on Sunday.
The Hamas announcement came shortly after Egypt decided to call off a meeting of Palestinian factions in Cairo to discuss the formation of a Palestinian unity government.
The announcement is likely to intensify tensions between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which has previously expressed opposition to the formation of a Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.
In 2017, Hamas announced its decision to dismantle the administrative committee it had set up as a de facto government in the Gaza Strip. The move was taken to promote reconciliation with the PA.
Abbas, who had demanded that Hamas dismantle the committee, imposed a series of sanctions on the Gaza Strip as part of an effort to undermine Hamas.
A statement issued by Hamas said that the appointment of the new prime minister came after he won the approval of the Palestinian parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).
Elected in 2006, the 132-seat PLC has been effectively paralyzed since the Hamas takeover of the coastal enclave in 2007. However, the PLC members in the Gaza Strip have since been holding their own sessions of the parliament.
Da’alis was elected earlier this year as a member of the Hamas politburo and served as head of its “Information Department.” He also served as an adviser to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who is currently based in Qatar.
After Hamas won the 2006 parliamentary election, Haniyeh was nominated as prime minister, establishing a Palestinian national unity government with the rival Fatah faction headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
After the 2007 Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led government and appointed Salam Fayyad as prime minister.
In April, Abbas decided to delay elections for the Palestinian parliament and presidency, citing Israel’s alleged refusal to allow the vote to take place in Jerusalem. The decision drew criticism from Hamas and other Palestinian factions, whose representatives accused Abbas of using the Jerusalem issue as a pretext to call off the vote because he feared another Hamas victory.