The Media Line led over twenty years ago in pioneering the American independent news agency in the Middle East, arguably the first in the region. We have always stayed true to our mission: to provide you with contextual sourced and trustworthy news. In an age of fake news masquerading as journalism, The Media Line plays a crucial role in providing fact-based news that deserves your support.

We're proud of the dozens of young students we've trained in our Press and Policy Student Program who will form the vanguard of the next generation of journalists to the benefit of countless millions of news readers.

Look out for exciting new additions as we enter 2022.

We thank our loyal readers and wish you all the happiest of holidays.
The Media Line

Non-profit news needs public support.
Please support us with your generous contributions:
PA President Mahmoud Abbas Appoints 2 New Government Ministers
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) makes a speech during the weekly cabinet meeting in Ramallah, West Bank on February 3, 2020. (Thaer Ghanaim/Palestinian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

PA President Mahmoud Abbas Appoints 2 New Government Ministers

The move is seen as an attempt to appease the West, and pacify the Palestinian street

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made a limited Cabinet reshuffle over the weekend, filling posts at the Interior and Religious Endowments ministries. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has overseen both positions since assuming office two years ago.

Former head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Force Maj. Gen. Ziad Hab al-Reeh was sworn in Saturday to be the next interior minister. Hab al-Reeh, who is from Jenin, held the Preventive Security position for more than a decade.

Before becoming head of Preventive Security, he was the second-in-command to top Fatah official Jibril Rajoub, and he is considered close to Rajoub.

Sheikh Hatem al-Bakri, a preacher at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and an Islamic judge and president of the Islamic Charitable Association in Hebron, was sworn in as minister for religious endowments.

Observers consider Hab al-Reeh’s appointment an attempt by Abbas to appease the Europeans on one hand and to placate the Palestinian street, which is growing dissatisfied with his rule, on the other.

Abbas and those around him are desperate to survive and to keep their positions, and one way to do that is to give the impression that they are making changes

Hasan Awwad, an expert on Palestinian affairs, told The Media Line that Abbas is in an awkward position. He said the PA president is walking a tightrope, balancing domestic pressure with international demands.

“There are growing calls for political reforms from within the Palestinian territories and from EU countries, and Washington,” Awwad said. “Abbas and those around him are desperate to survive and to keep their positions, and one way to do that is to give the impression that they are making changes.”

A senior Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Media Line that the PA is falling out of favor in many EU capitals, making it difficult to get any financial aid from them.

“We are going through our most difficult times financially, and Abbas is under tremendous pressure to make changes if he wants to get money from them,” the official said.

“It is very important to make changes to the security service body responsible for the killing of (Nizar)Banat, no matter how superficial that might seem to be,” he also said.

The PA led by Abbas and his secular Fatah movement last year faced several street protests following the death of Banat, an outspoken rights activist.

Banat was arrested by members of the Palestinian Preventive Security and later died in their custody.

“It’s an out for Abbas to calm the angry street, and keep Hab El Reeh’s (followers) loyal to him,” said Awwad, adding: “The move may not be enough.”

One of the activists who took to the street following Banat’s death is Sohaib Jodeh. He told The Media Line that he is not impressed with the move.

“What we need is real change, like Nizar wanted. He (Abbas) must think we are gullible. What we are looking for is to see real reforms, we want elections and an end to corruption,” Jodeh said.

Support for the PA among Palestinians is at historic lows, according to opinion polls, following Banat’s death.

Banat was an outspoken critic of the PA leadership, sparing no on one from his scathing criticism. He exposed top officials for their corruption, Abbas’ crackdown on civil liberties, and the security forces’ iron fist in handling opposition.

His death shook both the Palestinian street and the PA leadership.

Abbas had wanted to appoint Hab al-Reeh several months ago, but there was internal opposition from several Fatah senior figures – among them, Rajoub. Hab al-Reeh is considered one of Rajoub’s loyalists, and Rajoub wants to appoint another loyalist to the important Palestinian Preventive Security post.

“Abbas is trying to maintain internal balance among to Fatah members,” Awwad said.

Rajoub feels that there are vigorous attempts by Abbas and other top PA officials to contain if not reduce his influence. He deemed Hab al-Reeh’s removal to be directed at him.

At a time when many Palestinian politicians are trying to position themselves for the post-Abbas era, any movement of any senior official, especially in the security apparatus, can have a major implication on internal Palestinian politics.

Did you know we’re celebrating our 20th Anniversary as the 1st American News Agency exclusively covering the Middle East?

  • The Middle East landscape is changing rapidly.
  • The roads in the region open to new possibilities.
  • The Media Line continues to pave the way to a far greater understanding of the region’s land, people, policies and governments through our trusted, fact-based news.

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Please make your gift today.
Thank you!

We paved the way to be the Trusted Mid East News you can rely on!

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.