March 13, 2024 | Flash Brief

Abbas Expected to Name New Prime Minister Within Days

March 13, 2024 | Flash Brief

Abbas Expected to Name New Prime Minister Within Days

Latest Developments

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to appoint a new prime minister within days, according to officials who briefed Israeli media on March 12. On February 26, PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh resigned, citing the need for “new governmental and political arrangements” after the war in Gaza. Abbas is expected to name Mohammed Mustafa, the chairman of the Palestine Investment Fund, as Shtayyeh’s successor. The leadership change is part of a broader PA effort to undertake reform in preparation for a potential role in postwar Gaza. However, Mustafa is a longtime confidant of Abbas, raising questions about Abbas’s commitment to reform.

Expert Analysis

“Washington is looking for a ‘revitalized’ PA to play a role in the leadership of post-war Gaza, but Palestinian leaders in Ramallah have proven time and again that they are incapable of producing an accountable government. Having a close associate and confidant of Abbas stepping into this role is casting serious doubt that Abbas is capable of stewarding any meaningful change. This may be a reshuffling of the chairs on the sinking Titanic that the PA has become.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“Mustafa is deeply enmeshed in the PA and Abbas’s web of corruption and nepotism. His appointment will do nothing to alleviate Palestinian and Western concerns regarding cronyism. The PA needs major reform, or it will mismanage itself into irrelevance.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

PA: Corrupt and Unpopular

Washington has repeatedly said that a “revitalized” PA should govern Gaza after the war. However, concerns remain over the PA’s ability to govern an independent Palestinian state, especially one ruled in coordination with Hamas. Abbas, who is in the 20th year of a four-year term, has exercised autocratic power in the West Bank for two decades. Corruption within his government is widespread, and critics of PA rule often face torture and arbitrary arrest. Abbas has also diverted public funds and international aid to enrich himself and his family. A December 2023 poll found that 92 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank want Abbas to resign. If presidential elections were held today, 82 percent would vote for Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh over Abbas.

10 Things to Know About the Palestinian Authority,” FDD Insight

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Resigns,” FDD Flash Brief

A Palestinian Authority that rewards terrorism has no place in Gaza,” by Natalie Ecanow


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