Palestinians hope Fayyad's resignation would lead to unity, end of division

When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Saturday, a political analyst from the West Bank raised three questions.

"Would Fayyad's resignation improve economy? Would it help end Palestinian internal division and achieve long-awaited reconciliation? Would it prepare for presidential and legislative elections?" asked Samer Anabtawi. TOUGH DECISION

Amin Maqbool, Speaker of Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Xinhua that there has been severe criticism of Fayyad's performance as prime minister. "Fayyad's financial and economical policies were largely rejected by Fatah and other political blocks in the Palestinian parliament," said Maqbool.

Two months ago, Palestinian Finance Minister Nabil Qasis presented a letter of resignation to Fayyad, who accepted it without briefing or consulting with President Abbas, a move that angered Abbas. The disputes between Abbas and Fayyad have flared up ever since, as Abbas insisted on bringing back Qasis, said a senior Palestinian source.

Fayyad, 61-year-old economist, is a good friend of the United States. Tawfiq Abu Showmer, a Gaza-based political analyst, noted that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's recent visits to the region were partially to press President Abbas to keep Fayyad in his post.

According to Showmer, the United States and Europe were "happy" to see Fayyad as prime minister to keep Palestinian internal division going on, and also to keep their control over the Palestinian economy through various funds and donations.

But Abbas accepted Fayyad's resignation, against U.S. wishes. Several Fatah officials disapproved Abbas' decision to keep Fayyad as acting prime minister until the formation of a transitional unity government, but understood that Abbas has to strike a balance in face of U.S. pressures. URGE FOR RECONCILIATION

As Fayyad would not go unless a new government is formed, many Palestinians called on various political forces to immediately make a move.

"The Palestinians won't cry with tears after Fayyad's resignation and won't celebrate in the streets," said Anabtawi. " It's clear that Fayyad will remain in his post until reconciliation is finalized and a transitional unity technocrat government is formed."

Khaled al-Batsh, a senior Islamic Jihad leader from Gaza, urged via his Facebook page President Abbas to immediately form a national unity government and start to implement reconciliation agreements and understandings reached in Cairo and Qatar in 2011.

"It is time to end having two governments," said Osama Murtaja, 47-year-old manager of an electronics store in the Gaza Strip. " Fayyad's resignation could be a positive sign that would widely open the gates for achieving real reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, and for ending six years of bitter internal division."

Bassam Salhi, leader of the Palestinian People's Party (PPP) based in the West Bank, called on Hamas premier Ismail Haneya to resign in coordination with President Abbas, and urged the immediate forming of a transitional unity government which would prepare for elections.

However, Salah el-Bardaweel, a senior Hamas leader in Gaza, accused Abbas of being "not interested in making reconciliation and ending Palestinian internal division," predicting that "Abbas may form another government with a new prime minister and keep the division going on."

Philippines News agency