Reforming the Palestinian Authority Will Take a Lot More Than a New Prime Minister

February 28, 2024 | Ghaith al-Omari
About the author: Ghaith al-Omari is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. From 1999 to 2006 he served as an adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team and participated in numerous rounds of negotiation at settings including the 2000 Camp David summit.

Commenting on the recent resignation of the Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet—while the octogenarian president Mahmoud Abbas continues to show no interest in stepping down—and Western pressure for reform, Ghaith al-Omari writes:

In the longer term, the presence of a reformed, capable PA is also necessary for achieving a two-state solution or even taking steps in that direction. Otherwise, the outcome would likely be another failed state in a region rife with such destabilizing models. Two questions will determine whether these conditions are met. First, will the new prime minister be empowered to undertake the necessary reforms? . . . The more independent Shtayyeh’s replacement is, the more confidence there will be in the prime minister’s ability to confront Abbas and senior Fatah figures, many of whom will likely try to undermine meaningful reform.

Second, who will control the cabinet-formation process? . . .

Recent polls indicate that around 60 percent of Palestinians want to dissolve the PA and around 90 percent want Abbas to resign. Appointing a new prime minister may not be enough to fix this wider legitimacy problem, especially if there are doubts about the next cabinet’s independence and empowerment.

Besides all this, both Palestinians and Israelis would be better off if the PA stopped its constant incitement against Jews and Israel and its policy of rewarding terrorism with cash.

Read more on Washington Institute for Near East Policy: