On Thursday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas fired the majority of the West Bank governors in response to long-standing calls for a political shake-up as resentment toward the partially autonomous Palestinian Authority rose.
The governors of eight provinces in the territories that are run by the Palestinians were removed by Abbas’s order.
The unrest affected the uneasy northern cities of Nablus, Jenin, and Tulkarem, which have been at the center of a recent upsurge in Palestinian militancy that has eroded the authority’s authority. Only three regions—including Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority’s capital—kept their governors in place.
According to the president’s office, a committee to make replacement recommendations will be formed.
Although the move is unlikely to have an immediate effect on the ground, experts said it indicates Abbas’ acknowledgment of the authority’s growing unpopularity and his desire to demonstrate that, in the face of rising challenges, he is heeding calls for change. Political analyst Jehad Harb stated, “It gives the authority a new face, which is important, particularly as the governors are in charge of all security matters.
But in reality, nothing will change. While Abbas is attempting to restore some public trust, there is still more work to be done. Since 2006, Palestinians have not been able to participate in national elections. Technically, Abbas’ initial four-year term came to an end in 2009.
Despite the fact that governors claimed they had anticipated an overhaul for years due to the mounting desire for reform, many claimed Thursday’s order caught them off guard. None, though, voiced disagreement with the president’s choice, whose autocratic authority has grown in recent years.
The governor of Jericho and the Jordan Valley, Jihad Abu al-Assal, said, “I can understand how fresh blood is necessary. Even if we don’t fully comprehend the president’s decisions, we will nevertheless follow them.
The action is being taken as the secular nationalist Fatah party, which governs the widely acknowledged Palestinian Authority, struggles to deal with growing external and internal difficulties.
In addition, three Gaza Strip governors who had served in a largely symbolic capacity since Hamas’s takeover in 2007 were removed by Abbas’ proclamation.