Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas finished off his latest swipe at the United States Sunday by appointing a professor, who is a member of his Fatah party, to replace PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as prime minister of the PA.

Fayyad, trained in the United States as en economist, was hand-picked by the Bush administration to head Abbas’s government. Fayyad was widely considered as a success in trying to establish some form of normalcy in the corrupt and debt-ridden Palestinian Authority, but his independence and success were too much for Abbas, and Fayyad quit earlier this year.

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His replacement, Prof Rami Hamdallah, suits Abbas just right. Hamdallah is not widely known and, unlike Fayyad who was a political outsider, is a loyal member of Abbas’ Fatah movement,

Hamdallah was educated in Britain and has headed the al-Najah University for the past 15 years.

The appointment rattled Hamas, which said that Abbas has no legal right to be in office let alone appoint a prime minister.

Abbas’ term of office ran bout four years ago after he was elected in the first and only presidential elections,  following the death of Yasser Arafat

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