Pal. Authority's Prime Minister Threatens to Resign

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad plans to submit his resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas when he returns from a visit to Egypt, the Quds Net news agency reported Wednesday night.

Fayyad, who has resigned more than once in the past, relayed his decision to Abbas in a phone call to Egypt, the report stated.

The announcement comes a day after Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) held rallies against rising prices and widespread poverty. At some of the rallies, protesters torched pictures of Fayyad.

While demonstrators burned his image in effigy, Fayyad took part in a debate on the P.A.'s economic outlook with a leader of the youth movement at Al-Najah University in Nablus (biblical Shechem), the official Ma'an news agency reported. Palestinian television broadcast the debate.

According to the report, the government appointed a committee to respond within two days to a memo on the rising cost of living.

The P.A. depends heavily on international aid to cover salaries of government employees in the West Bank and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

In a separate matter, Abbas has yet to make a final decision on when to address the General Assembly in a second bid for unilateral statehood.

Last year, the Obama administration vetoed a similar bid in the U.N. Security Council, but many believe it would succeed in the General Assembly where the P.A. enjoys broad support.

P.A. sources claim the United States threatened to cut its $3 billion annual aid package if Abbas makes a second statehood bid this month.

Some sources say the Obama administration convinced him to wait until after the U.S. presidential election in November, while others say he may address the General Assembly at the opening meeting.

Last year, UNESCO granted membership status to the P.A., prompting the United States to drop its annual contribution to the body.

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