Fatah-Hamas unity government on hold
A meeting scheduled this week to announce the new unity government for the Palestinians has been canceled over a dispute between the two factions over who should be prime minister.
Mr. Abbas has been pushing hard to keep in place Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who is widely admired in the United States and Europe, the sources of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual aid to the Palestinian Authority, and in Israel, whose security officials cooperate with those under him in the West Bank.
But Hamas leaders despise Mr. Fayyad, considering him a stooge of Israel and the West and blaming his security authorities in the West Bank for arresting and mistreating their followers.
"Salam Fayyad is a criminal who should be put on trial," Mahmoud Zahar, a top Hamas official, said in an interview at his home. "He has tortured our people in prison. He is not acceptable to anyone in Hamas."
The announcement of the meeting's cancellation was made by Azzam al-Ahmed, chief Fatah negotiator in the reconciliation talks, who said another meeting would be scheduled soon.
But other officials said the problem was unlikely to be resolved quickly. Some said that Washington had warned Mr. Abbas that going ahead with the unity government would risk American aid, which currently amounts to about $500 million a year.
An interesting description of Fayyad who is well known for saying one thing in Arabic and the opposite when talking to the west. The PM just isn't radical enough, bloodthirsty enough, or hateful enough for Hamas' tastes. They want a bomb thrower - both figuratively and literally - to head up any Palestinian government.
This isn't likely because of the west's insistence on discriminating between "good" Fatah and "bad" Hamas. The unity accord states that non-partisan "technocrats" will fill out the government and it should be an interesting excercise to see just who the Palestinians see who fits that bill.