Palestinian Authority Government of March 2006
The Palestinian Authority Government of March 2006 was a government of the Palestinian National Authority (PA) from 29 March 2006 to 17 March 2007, led by Ismail Haniyeh. After Hamas won the Palestinian legislative election on 25 January 2006, its leader Haniyeh formed a cabinet which comprised mostly Hamas members as well as four independents, after Fatah and other factions refused to join a national unity government. It was the first Hamas-led PA government in the Palestinian territories.
The Quartet on the Middle East demanded Hamas recognize Israel's right to exist, to forswear violence and to accept the validity of previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements. Hamas rejected these conditions and a substantial part of the international community, especially Israel and the United States, refused to deal with the Hamas government, and imposed sanctions. In an attempt to reduce Israeli and international pressure, in April 2006 Hamas Ministers in the cabinet resigned their membership in Hamas. Following the abduction of Gilad Shalit on 25 June 2006, Israel detained nearly a third of the PLC members and ministers.
Pursuant to the Oslo Accords, the authority of the PA Government is limited to some civil rights of the Palestinians in the West Bank Areas A and B and in the Gaza Strip, and to internal security in Area A and in Gaza.
The Palestinian legislative election, held on 25 January 2006, was won by Hamas. On 26 January 2006, Fatah leader Saeb Erakat said his party did not want to join a Hamas Government. The Fatah Central Committee decided that Fatah will not join the next Government, but said it would depend on President Abbas. On 28 January 2006, Hamas declared it would try to form a Government of technocrats, if a government with Fatah and all the political groups was not possible. On 29 January 2006, PLC deputies from Fatah confirmed after talks with Abbas that their faction would not join Hamas in a coalition Government and would prefer to sit in opposition, despite calls by Hamas for a “political partnership”. The decision was, however, not discussed and ratified by the Fatah Central Committee.
On 27 March 2006, Ismail Haniyeh announced his new government before the Palestinian Legislative Council. On 28 March, the government of mostly Hamas members and in addition four independents was approved by the PLC and sworn in on 29 March 2006.
After the Hamas victory at the 2006 Palestinian legislative election, Israel said if Hamas was part of the new PA government, it would restrict the movement of money, people and goods into and out of Gaza Strip and West Bank. Israel and the Quartet on the Middle East demanded Hamas recognize Israel's right to exist, to forswear violence and to accept the validity of previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements.
Following the swearing in of a Hamas-led government on 29 March 2006, Israel, the United States and the Quartet imposed sanctions against the PA. Israel also withheld taxes collected on behalf of the PA, which lasted for 12 months.
Due to the Israeli blockade, Ministers from West Bank and Gaza were compelled to communicate by videophone. One of the first acts of the Hamas cabinet was to freeze a round of appointments by the outgoing Fatah-led government.
A struggle for power between President Abbas and the new government emerged over the security services. Abbas made Fatah-affiliated Rashid Abu Shbak head of the three branches of the Palestinian Security Services, with authority to hire and fire officers in the three security branches, bypassing the authority of the Hamas Interior Minister. He also ordered all diplomatic statements and dealings be coordinated with the Fatah-dominated Palestine Liberation Organization, after Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar had sent a letter to the UN Secretary General.
In April 2006, it was announced that the Hamas Ministers in the cabinet had resigned their membership in Hamas, in an effort to reduce Israeli and international pressure, facing the economic siege. The government was followed by a unity government of March 2007.
Members of the Government
|1||Ismail Haniyeh||Prime Minister/Minister of Sports and Youth||Hamas|
|2||Mahmoud al-Zahar||Foreign Affairs Minister||Hamas|
|3||Omar Abd al-Razaq||Finance Minister||Hamas|
|4||Said Seyam||Interior Minister||Hamas|
|7||Fakhri Turkman||Social Affairs||Independent|
|8||Wasfi Kabha||Prisoners Affairs||Hamas|
|9||Nasser al-Shaer||Deputy Prime Minister/Education Minister||Hamas|
|11||Mariam Saleh||Woman Affairs||Hamas|
|13||Jamal al Khudari||Telecommunications and Information Technology||Independent|
|14||Abdul Rahman Zeidan||Public Works||Hamas|
|15||Joudeh George Murqos||Tourism||Independent **|
|16||Attallah Abul Sabeh||Culture||Hamas|
|18||Nayef Rajoub||Religious Affairs||Hamas|
|19||Samir Abu Eisheh||Planning||Hamas|
|20||Mohammed al Agha||Agriculture||Hamas|
|21||Khaled Abu Arafeh||Minister without Portfolio||Hamas|
|22||Issa Ja'bari||Local Governance Ministry||Hamas|
|25||Mohammed Awad||Chief of Cabinet (Rank of Minister)||Hamas|
* Some ministers were arrested by Israel, making their duties being transferred to other ministers.
- Palestinian PM to quit after poll. BBC, 26 January 2006
- Chronological Review of Events Relating to the Question of Palestine Monthly media monitoring review, January 2006. UN, Division for Palestinian Rights, 8 February 2006.
Day 26:"Saeb Erakat, who won re-election to the PLC in his home town of Jericho, beating back a challenge from a Hamas candidate, said his party did not want to join a Hamas Government. ... “The Fatah Central Committee has decided that Fatah will not join the next Government,” Intissar Wazir, a member of the Committee, said after the group met to discuss the outcome of the PLC elections. Officials said the ultimate decision on whether Fatah could join a new Government would still depend on PA President Abbas." Day 29: "After talks with PA President Abbas, PLC deputies from Fatah confirmed that their faction would not join Hamas in a coalition Government and would prefer to sit in opposition, despite calls by Hamas for a “political partnership”."
- TIMELINE: Key events since 2006. Reuters, 20 June 2007
- The Impact of Semi-Presidentialism on Governance in the Palestinian Authority (pdf). Francesco Cavatorta and Robert Elgie. Parliam Affairs (2009). (Also in HTML version)
p. 9: Hamas offered Fatah a grand coalition, but Fatah refused"
- Hamas Ministers Resign Membership in Movement to Appease U.S., Israel. Arnon Regular, Haaretz, 7 April 2006
- Palestinian Legislative Council Members Archived 2013-04-12 at the Wayback Machine. Addameer, 2013
- Palestinian MK demands release of PLC members; reinstatement of Jerusalem ID. Ma'an News Agency, 12 September 2008
- 25% of Palestinian MPs detained by Israel. Conal Urquhart, Guardian, 21 August 2006
- The ministerial statement of the new government as read by PM elect Ismail Hanieh in front of the PLC. JMCC, 27 March 2006
- US cuts diplomatic ties with Hamas government. Guardian, 29 March 2006
- Hamas Leader Faults Israeli Sanction Plan. Steven Erlanger, New York Times, 18 February 2006
- U.S. and Israelis Are Said to Talk of Hamas Ouster Steven Erlanger, New York Times, 14 February 2006
- Israel’s retaliatory seizure of tax, pp. 10-11. Al-Haq, 1 April 2015. Here available
- Funds Cut, Gaza Faces a Plague of Health Woes. New York Times, 8 May 2006
- Palestinians' Hamas Leader Faces Myriad of Problems. The New York Times, 6 April 2006.
"Israel refuses to allow Hamas officials to pass between the West Bank and Gaza, in addition to other steps aimed at increasing its isolation."
- The PA Ministerial Cabinet List March 2006 - March 2007. JMCC. Archived on 4 October 2009