Mahmoud Abbas dismisses 12 governors in unprecedented move

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has dismissed twelve regional governors in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. This announcement was made on Thursday, and official sources have yet to provide an explanation for the unexpected decision.

The affected governors include those of North Gaza, Gaza City, Khan Younis, and Rafah in the Gaza Strip, as well as Jenin, Qalqilya, Bethlehem, Nablus, Hebron, Tul Karm, Tubas, and Jericho in the occupied West Bank. All have been ordered into retirement, with a presidential committee now established to appoint their successors.

This move is unprecedented in the history of the occupied Palestinian Territories, and it comes on the heels of unsuccessful unity talks between President Abbas and the rival faction Hamas in Cairo last month. Hamas has governed the blockaded Gaza Strip for nearly two decades, and the failure of the talks to achieve any tangible progress has further strained the Palestinian front against mounting Israeli pressure.

Speculation surrounds the motivations behind this drastic reshuffling, but some context might be drawn from President Abbas’s recent controversies. The long-serving leader has faced criticism in the city of Jenin for perceived governmental inaction following a deadly raid that claimed 12 lives last month. Despite a rare visit to the affected camp, Abbas was met with a rebuke from residents who were dissatisfied with the government’s response to almost-daily Israeli incursions.

Moreover, the Palestinian Authority’s standing has been on a downward trajectory in recent years, plagued by allegations of corruption, negligence, and controversial cooperation with Israel. A poll conducted last year revealed that only 27 per cent of the population were content with the administration’s performance.

Observers are now keenly watching the development of this political upheaval, as the dismissal of such a significant number of key figures may signal a significant shift in the Palestinian leadership’s strategy or a response to internal pressures.

While the official Wafa news agency reported the dismissals, it did not delve into the reasoning behind the decision, leaving the political landscape tinged with uncertainty. The formation of a presidential committee to select replacements adds another layer of intrigue to an already complex and tense situation.

Image Credit: European External Action Service