Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is planning the broadest changes within the official Palestinian bodies and security services and Fatah leadership to strengthen the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Informed Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that an imminent cabinet reshuffle would involve at least five ministers, appointing 12 new governors and retiring about 30 ambassadors.
The changes will be followed by Fatah’s eighth congress, which will end with the selection of a new central committee and revolutionary council.
According to the sources, the changes will begin this week until the end of the year. They will help the PA ahead of the post-presidential era, which includes choosing a new leadership for the Fatah movement.
It is assumed that the significant change will begin with a ministerial reshuffle that will include several ministers, provided that Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh remains in his position.
Initially, the intention was for a complete ministerial change, but then it was limited to some ministries and the retirement of over 30 ambassadors.
Shtayyeh accepted the resignation of Minister of Education Marwan Awartani and delegated the Ministry's work to Minister of Higher Education Mahmoud Abu Moweis.
The amendment, which would have primarily affected the Minister of Education, comes at the start of the school year amid the ongoing disputes with unions.
In his resignation letter, Awartani discussed his “deep differences” with Shtayyeh, which affected the “work environment.”
- Security meetings
A security source confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Abbas chaired a meeting with security leaders last week, addressing the security situation, mechanisms for appointing new governors, and other issues.
Last month, Abbas retired 12 governors, eight in the West Bank and four in the Gaza Strip. The decision was sudden, and the officials were not informed beforehand.
In recent years, the Authority suffered from the control of armed men and factions, which weakened the government.
Israel accused the Authority of losing control in the northern West Bank, leaving it to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements.
The US administration and regional countries discussed the accusations, and during recent security meetings, Abbas directed his leaders to “restore security control without excuses.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that several ambassadors who had reached or exceeded retirement age were informed that retirement procedures would begin soon, following the instructions of Abbas.
The Ministry's statement did not include the names of the ambassadors.
- The judiciary and the PLO
The amendments initiated by the Authority will include the judiciary and its affiliated bodies within the Authority or the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
In his speech at the eleventh session of the Revolutionary Council, Abbas confirmed the date for the eighth Fatah congress on December 17.
The conference was supposed to be held at the beginning of last year before Fatah announced that it would be postponed until May, it was postponed again without a determined date.
Leadership renewal was one of the most important outcomes of the central meeting, ahead of a new phase that determined Abbas’ successor.
The secretary general of the PLO Executive Committee, Hussein al-Sheikh, is a candidate to replace Abbas, and he will compete with prominent figures to replace the 88-year-old President.
Fatah believes the Palestinian president must be in its central committee and the executive committee of the PLO.
The eighth congress will determine the popularity and power of the candidates to replace Abbas.