The Fatah movement has also long sought to replace Fayad, said to have
been imposed on the PA by the United States and other Western donors. The
59-year-old economist, credited with reducing corruption, was believed to
have been preparing to run for PA chairman.
Fayad, who is not a Fatah member, became prime minister in 2007 in an
effort by the PA to
demonstrate reform. As prime minister, Fayad became responsible for paying
civil servants, particularly members of the Palestinian security forces.
The sources said Washington has urged PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to
retain Fayad as prime minister. They said the United States has warned that
the ouster of Fayad would harm the PA's credibility in the West and reduce
the nearly $1 billion in annual pledges.
Hamas has offered to keep out its prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, in
exchange for the resignation of Fayad. But Hamas leaders said they would
insist that Fayad's replacement come from the Gaza Strip.
At this point, Hamas and Fatah have not discussed candidates for the
unity Cabinet. They said several Palestinians proposed for the post of prime
minister include Munib Masri, who helped negotiate the reconciliation deal,
and Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
"That is definitely for the parties to decide," Fayad said.