Prime Minister of the Ramallah-based government Salam Fayyad has ruled out taking high office in a future Palestinian government, in comments to Israeli media on Friday.
“I don’t intend to run for the presidency or anything else for that matter,” Fayyad told the Israeli daily Haaretz, while reiterating his insistence that he would not let his candidacy stand in the way of a unity government between Fatah and Hamas.
Fayyad, appointed by President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007 to the Fatah-dominated government in Ramallah, was the president’s candidate to head a new cabinet stipulated by a reconciliation deal with former rivals Hamas.
But Hamas objected to his candidacy, and Fayyad called on factions to choose a new prime minister as Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal and Abbas met to move the May deal forward last week.
The parties will agree a temporary cabinet of independents, not dominated by affiliates from either side, they said after the meeting.
Fayyad’s government has been praised internationally for its economic and anti-corruption policies, but looked close to collapse last month when Israel held back tax payments amounting to near half of the PA’s domestic revenues.
The premier slammed Israeli officials who said the tax freeze was to “punish Palestinians.”
“This is the 21st century, how can anyone begin to use language like this?” he commented to Haaretz.
Under international pressure, Israel released the outstanding payments on Thursday allowing public sector workers to be paid, a government official said.