Newly appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is inheriting with his seat, challenges that his predecessor could not meet after years of trying. Chief among them is reconciliation and power sharing with Hamas, which has already termed his appointment illegal.
It is, however, also incumbent on the Palestinian prime minister to do all he can to build, strengthen and reform the institutions that are required to move to independence. The biggest challenge among them, and perhaps the most important, is the Palestinian economy. Hamdallah must bring the Palestinians out of the economic mess they find themselves in. While much of the economic woes of the West Bank are attributable to the occupation’s continuing punitive measures against the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), Hamdallah can strive to move the Palestinian economy away from its dependence on the occupation. Hamdallah needs to ensure that wage payments to Palestinians are not dependent on the whim of an Israeli occupation leader. Donor countries, particularly in the European Union, should be told that Palestine is not a charitable case and that aid to the Palestinian people should be complemented with a pressure campaign on Israelis to end their oppressive practices. Israel has tried to shape the PNA into becoming a tool for the occupation. The sooner the PNA sheds that image, the sooner reconciliation can be achieved.