A Palestinian economist with ties to the Bush administration is slated to join the new Hamas-led coalition government. Salam Fayyad said Wednesday that he had been asked to become the next Palestinian Authority finance minister, and agreed. The move could complicate U.S.-led efforts to keep the P.A. government isolated after Hamas and the more moderate Fatah faction signed a power-sharing pact earlier this month. Fayyad, who was partly educated in the United States and is welcomed in both Washington and Jerusalem, is not identified with Hamas. His predecessor in the Palestinian Authority’s Finance Ministry was a Hamas member who made no headway in trying to restore Western donor aid that was cut off in the wake of Hamas’ electoral victory.
Moderate to join P.A. government