The Palestinian Authority’s new Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, was officially appointed on Sunday, coming at a critical time in which international leaders push for revived negotiations to bring about a resolution to the Middle East Peace Process.
The appointment of a new Prime Minister marks a positive step, bringing an end to a period of uncertain relations between former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.
Although little-known in the political sphere, Hamdallah is a professor of linguistics who has served as president of An Najah National University in the West Bank since 1998. He has also served as Secretary General of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission since 2002 and is reported to have held a series of prominent roles in a number of university associations.
He now faces the task of assembling a new government. “The government will be formed in the coming days,” stated Hamdallah upon accepting his appointment. While most ministers of the outgoing cabinet will remain, he announced that he will bring in a new finance minister amid efforts to boost the Palestinian economy.
After congratulating Mr. Hamdallah, who is known as a political independent, British Foreign Secretary William Hague stated that the appointment “comes at a crucial time in the search for Middle East peace”.
“There is an urgent need to return to negotiations for a two-state solution,” added Hague. “The UK wants to see a viable, independent Palestinian state, based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, living in peace and security with Israel.”
Mr Hague assured the British-educated Prime Minister of the UK’s “strong support” for efforts to restart the peace process and welcomed his determination to “build and maintain the institutions and economic underpinnings of the future Palestinian state”.
US Secretary of State John Kerry also welcomed the move, remarking that it has taken place at “a moment of challenge, which is also an important moment of opportunity.”
“Together, we can choose the path of a negotiated two-state settlement that will allow Palestinians to fulfill their legitimate aspirations, and continue building the institutions of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state that will live in peace, security, and economic strength alongside Israel,” stated Kerry.