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Monday May 3, 2010 9:13 AM (EST+7)
Fateh members demand government program overhaul, control over official media

Read more: Fateh, revolutionary council, government, cabinet, governance, Salam Fayyad

JERUSALEM, May 3 (JMCC) - Members of the Palestinian faction Fateh are demanding an overhaul in the program of the Palestinian government led by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

The demands, made at a meeting of Fateh’s Revolutionary Council last week, come amid reports of a cabinet reshuffle that would bring more Fateh members into the government.

“It is not enough to change posts,” says Jerusalem Fateh leader Hatem Abdel Qader. “The crisis demands more than just changing faces. The program conducted by the government is unbalanced and does not engage the Palestinian people’s priorities at this stage, especially regarding Jerusalem.”


Disagreements between Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fateh, and Fayyad have recently come to the fore as Fayyad calls for unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state in 2011.

In an interview with Israeli television, Abbas said he did not support such a declaration.

“Yes, there are disagreements, but not to the extent reported by Israeli media,” says Abdel Qader.

He said that the prime minister was exceeding his authority, and that it was important to maintain the president’s authority as head of the Palestinian Authority and leader of the security forces.

Political negotiations and a statehood declaration are within the president’s and the PLO’s authorities, not those of the government, said Abdel Qader.  

The Palestinian parliament would normally moderate these powers, said Abdel Qader, but it has not met successfully since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
“This situation is not right and must be rectified,” he said.


Fateh Revolutionary Council member Salwa Hdeib praised the performance of the Fayyad government, but said that demands were made for significant amendments to the cabinet.

“Regarding governmental performance, thanks go to Prime Minister Fayyad,” said Hdeib. “There were, however, several serious comments on the function of ministries and ministers, and therefore, a decision was made that it was necessary to make radical ministerial changes, without prejudicing the status of Fayyad.”

She said that Fateh members demanded control over the key ministries of finance, foreign affairs, interior, health, education and social affairs.

Fateh has 11 seats in the 21-member caretaker cabinet led by Fayyad, a technocratic independent.

Hdeib also said that Fateh was demanding control over Palestinian official media, currently headed by PLO member Yasser Abed Rabbo.

“Palestinian television [currently] deals with the president’s persona as if he is a regular person, not as a leader,” Hdeib said, “and more exposure is given to other figures. We consider the government and the broadcasting committee as tools of the Authority, and therefore maintaining them should be in keeping with the national project. As a faction of its size, Fateh must be the leader of this project -- as it has always been.”







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