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Palestinian Authority prime minister and government resign

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh and his government have submitted their resignations, he announced Monday.

“I would like to inform the honorable council and our great people that I placed the government’s resignation at the disposal of Mr. President (Mahmoud Abbas), last Tuesday, and today I submit it in writing,” Shtayyeh said in a post on Facebook.

The resignation comes as the Palestinian Authority (PA) comes under intense pressure from the United States to reform and improve its governance in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The PA has long been seen as corrupt by US politicians and Palestinians themselves.

The PA was set up in the mid-1990s as an interim government pending Palestinian independence after the Palestine Liberation Organization signed the Oslo Accords with Israel. It is headquarters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah and exercises nominal self-rule in parts of the territory.

The government, which is dominated by the Fatah political party, held administrative control over Gaza until 2007, after Hamas won the 2006 legislative elections in the occupied territories and expelled it from the strip. Israel has rejected the prospect of the PA returning to Gaza after the war, and has dismissed the idea of establishing a Palestinian state in the territories.

The US however favors a reformed PA being in control of both the West Bank and Gaza as part of a future independent state.

The PA is also very unpopular among Palestinians, who see it as unable to provide security in the face of regular Israeli incursions in the West Bank. A survey conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in December showed that more than 60% of Palestinians want the PA to be dissolved. Meanwhile, support for President Abbas, who has held the position since 2005, has collapsed. In the West Bank, 92% of respondents want him to resign, according to the poll.

The prime minister’s post in the PA was set up in 2003, following the Second Palestinian Intifada (uprising) after the US, the European Union and Israel called for reforms. It marked the first real move toward power-sharing by then President Yasser Arafat since the PA was established. At the time, Arafat named Abbas as prime minister. Abbas took over as president after Arafat died in 2004.

This post appeared first on cnn.com

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