Photo Credit: Flash 90
Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesperson of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, speaks at a news conference in the Samaria city of Ramallah on December 5, 2017

This report was filed in New York prior to the start of the holy Sabbath.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has appointed his spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, to become the new Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Information to the Ramallah-based government. Abbas said through a spokesperson that he made the decision “in coordination” with PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

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Abu Rudaineh, 66, is the first non-Muslim to hold a senior position in the Palestinian Authority government. He is a member of the Greek Orthodox Catholic Church. Abu Rudaineh was sworn in at the Muqata headquarters in a special ceremony on Thursday shortly after the surprise announcement was made.

The Palestinian Authority leader’s spokesperson has served in that position since long before Abbas stepped into the role: in fact, he was appointed by the late PLO chairman Yasser Arafat to serve as spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority chairmanship, according to Arab affairs journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, who reported on the appointment.

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization condemned the choice of Abu Rudaineh as Deputy Prime Minister, saying it ran counter to reconciliation efforts with the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah faction, also headed by Abbas, according to the AFP news agency. In addition to his new posts, Abu Rudaineh will continue to serve as spokesperson for Abbas and the upper echelon of the Palestinian Authority.

This report was filed in New York prior to the start of the holy Sabbath.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.