Wednesday, September 13, 2006

# Posted 9:45 PM by Patrick Belton  

MORE ON THE PALESTINIAN UNITY GOV'T: Jordanian and Arab League diplos reputedly fear that retaining the prime ministerial portfolio, Hamas remains too strong in the national unity government for the US and Israel to permit the Palestinian economy to restart. The average Palestinian's personal income has fallen 40 per cent in 2006, and the economic embargo has pushed 67 per cent of the Palestinian population beneath the poverty line, says the World Bank's country director, David Craig. Marwan Barghouthi has said he would step aside as labour minister if it would facilitate creation of a grand coalition. Barghouthi's picture and those of the other detained cabinet members and legislators hang in al-Manara square, five of the former and a quarter of the latter; Hamas's political headquarters in Ramallah is said to have a ghost-town feel. However, an Israeli military court has ordered release of many of them. Talk meanwhile grows in Barghouthi's young guard of abolishing a PA which cannot even pay salaries; this talk is however limited by dissatisfaction with apparent alternatives, these being resumed Israeli military governance or a civil administration run by Jordan. (Times, Reuters, FT, WaPo, CS Monitor's Ilene Prusher).
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