Little Expected of New Palestinian Prime Minister

The appointment on Thursday of Muhammad Mustafa as the new prime minister of the Palestinian Authority was supposed to be a nod to international demands for a more technocratic and less corrupt administration.

But Mr. Mustafa, 69, who was appointed by Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the authority, seems destined to fall short of producing the “revitalized Palestinian Authority” that President Biden has called for, several analysts said in interviews Thursday. A senior adviser to the president, Mr. Mustafa represents neither a break with the past nor a threat to the power wielded by Mr. Abbas, who at 88 is widely unpopular among Palestinians, particularly since the outbreak of the war in Gaza.

“There won’t be any actual change,” said Nasser al-Qudwa, a former foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority who fell out with Mr. Abbas. “The situation will remain just as it has been. The decision maker won’t change.”

Mr. Mustafa, an economist who has worked for the World Bank and heads the Palestine Investment Fund, must name a new government over the next few weeks, which analysts say will provide a better indication of whether he plans significant changes. Particularly critical, they say, will be the choices for ministers of the interior, finance and foreign affairs, all of whom are close to the authority’s president.

Mr. Abbas, known as Abu Mazen, has kept his post under various previous prime ministers despite having been elected only to a four-year term in 2005.

His critics are skeptical that Mr. Mustafa will be a significant improvement in the running of the Palestinian Authority, which has limited governing powers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and is dominated by Mr. Abbas’s Fatah faction. It lost control of Gaza to Hamas when its forces were routed in a brief civil war in 2007.

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