The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has condemned Israel's installation of iron barriers at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Who is Mohammed Mustafa the new Prime Minister of Palestine?

Today, Thursday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appointed Muhammad Mustafa to form a new Palestinian government, one of the biggest Palestinian businessmen and a rare ally of Abbas who oversaw the reconstruction of Gaza under the administration of the Hamas movement.

Mustafa, a US-educated economist, previously ran Palestinian telecommunications group Paltel and the Palestinian Authority-affiliated Palestine Investment Fund, which has about $1 billion in assets to fund projects across the Palestinian territories.

He was appointed ten years ago to help lead reconstruction efforts in Gaza after the previous war between Israel and Hamas.

Palestinian leaders hope he will now emerge as a unifying figure in light of his willingness to rebuild the Gaza Strip, five months after Israeli bombardment followed the Palestinian movement's October 7 attack on Israel.

The internationally recognized Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank after losing control to Hamas in 2007, aims to reunify the rule of the Palestinian territories after the Gaza war.

Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, a member of the Fatah movement led by Mahmoud Abbas, resigned last February to pave the way for the formation of a government of national unity. Although close to Mustafa Abbas, he is not a member of Fatah, which may make him less controversial.

Muhammad Mustafa, Palestinian Prime Minister-designate, March 19, 2015 (Ministry of Economy page via Facebook)

With large parts of Gaza now in ruins and most of its 2.3 million people displaced and in need of aid, Mustafa will face a huge administrative and diplomatic task.

The West Bank has also seen its worst violence in decades. In addition to overseeing billions of dollars worth of international aid, Mustafa will need political support from Hamas and its supporters, as well as the cooperation of Israel, which wants to eliminate the movement.

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The US called for radical reforms in the governance system within the Palestinian Authority. Washington wants the Palestinian Authority to play a leading role in governing the region after the war.

According to Reuters, Palestinian economist Muhammad Abu Ziab said, “Everyone is in crisis. Fatah in the West Bank is in crisis, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip is clearly in crisis.” He said Mustafa (age 69) could represent a “way out” for both of them.

October 7 “Symptom of a Big Trouble”

Palestinian President Abbas appointed Mustafa as head of the Palestine Investment Fund in 2015. He served as deputy prime minister for economic affairs from 2013 to 2014 and headed a group charged with rebuilding Gaza after the seven-week war, which includes more than 2,100 Palestinians. were killed.

In his speech in Davos on January 17, Mustafa said: “The devastating and humanitarian impact of war is far greater now than it was ten years ago.”

Gaza health officials say 31,000 people are confirmed dead in Gaza, and thousands more are believed to be buried under the rubble.

Israel says it cannot cooperate with Hamas and any Palestinian government that refuses to repudiate its attack on October 7, which resulted in 1,200 deaths and 253 hostages, according to Israeli figures.

In his speech in Davos, Mustafa described the October 7 attack as “unfortunate for everyone”.

He said: “But this is a symptom of a bigger problem … the Palestinian people have been suffering non-stop for 75 years.” He added: “To this day, we still believe that the way forward is to establish a state for the Palestinians, so we believe that this can be achieved at this time. This will enable all the people in the region to live safely and peacefully,” he said.

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Member of the executive committee of the Mustafa Abbas-led Palestine Liberation Organization, which recognized Israel at the start of the peace process in 1993; Hoping to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem occupied by Israel in the 1967 war.


Mustafa said the Palestinian Authority could do better by building more efficient institutions and better governance; “This will allow us to reconnect Gaza and the West Bank.”

But he added: “If we cannot eliminate occupation, no reformist government or reformed institutions can create a good and successful administrative system or create a suitable economy.”

Mustafa was born in the West Bank city of Tulkarm, earned a doctorate in business administration and economics from George Washington University, and worked for the World Bank in the US capital.

He said on January 17 that $15 billion would be needed to rebuild housing alone.

Expressing hope that Gaza's borders will be opened and a reconstruction conference held, he said he would continue to focus on humanitarian efforts in the short and medium term.

Asked about the future role he envisions for Hamas, Mustafa said “the best way forward (the process) is to be as comprehensive as possible,” adding that he wants Palestinians to unite around the PLO's agenda. .

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