The sources said an agreement with Hamas could be reached by mid-June
2011. They said Hamas and Fatah have agreed on many of the ministers in the
so-called 15-member technocrat Cabinet.
"The real remaining disagreement is over who should be prime minister," the
[On May 29, former PA Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath, now a member of the
Fatah Central Committee, said the Cabinet of the forthcoming PA government
would be announced on June 6, Middle East Newsline reported. Shaath, who was meeting the Hamas leadership
in the Gaza Strip, said the government was meant to last for one year.]
Fatah, urged by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, has insisted that incumbent
Salam Fayad, supported by the European Union and the United States, continue
as prime minister. But the sources said Fatah has offered to reduce Fayad's
authority and remove him from the post of finance minister.
One option envisioned the Finance Ministry being given to Mohammed
Mustafa, president of the Palestine Investment Fund. Mustafa has already
announced a $1 million investment fund for the reconstruction of the Gaza
Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Masha'al was said to have agreed to
the retention of Fayad but the Islamist regime in the Gaza Strip,
particularly the pro-Iranian wing, remains opposed. Under the Fatah formula,
also supported by Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al Arabi, Hamas Prime
Minister Ismail Haniyeh would serve as Fayad's deputy.
"There is a feeling that Hamas's position on Fayad is a bargaining tool
more than a boycott of the man," another Fatah source said.
The sources said Hamas has demanded guarantees that the international
community would lift the siege from the Gaza Strip as well as the release of
all Islamists held by the PA. They said Hamas has already proposed
candidates for ministers, including Nasser Al Shaer, Samir Abu Eisha and
Ghaza Hamad, all of them Hamas members and senior officials in the Gaza
For its part, Fatah has proposed ministerial posts for Hanan Ashrawi,
Nabil Qassis, Ali Jarbawi and Ziad Bandaq, most of them members of the
movement. Under one option, Ms. Ashrawi, with a high profile in the West,
would serve as foreign minister.
Other Fatah ministerial candidates included attornies Hossam Al Atryp
and Samih Tubeileh, Nidal Sabri, Yasser Amouri, Mohammed Nasser, Hafez Al
Jabari, Daoud Zaatreh and Mamoun Abu Shalah. The sources said Hamas was
being allowed to select between the Fatah nominees.
Another obstacle could be Abbas's intention to resume negotiations with
Israel for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. Hamas
deputy political bureau chief Mussa Abu Marzouk ruled out talks with Israel
that are not based on its withdrawal from the entire West Bank and most of
Jerusalem. Abu Marzouk also dismissed the prospect that Fayad continue as