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International banker to become Palestinian prime minister

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  • International banker to become Palestinian prime minister

    International banker to become Palestinian prime minister

    The new face of Palestine

    I was told by my source that Fatah wants 56 year-old Mohammad Mustafa, the head of the Palestine Investment Fund, to be the interim prime minister. He is also an economic advisor to the president and has all the makings of a compromise candidate. "He is a true professional and has never been involved in corruption. He doesn't need this because he earned tens of thousands of dollars per month from his jobs with international agencies. He is a wealthy and patriotic man," my source in the government told me on condition of anonymity.

    Mustafa recently visited the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip for the first time in four years. This is also a result of the reconciliation between the Palestinians. Mustafa said he will begin forming a special investment fund worth $1 billion for Gaza.

    The Palestinian authorities will invest one fifth of this sum and are hoping to attract the rest from abroad. They want to repair the airport, upgrade the sea port, develop the energy industry, purchase desalination equipment and build factories and housing. Promoting the private sector will also be a focus.

    The Islamists are enthusiastic about these plans. They believe current Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is too willing to offer concessions to Israel, but they have respect for his potential successor as a man that does not want to get involved in politics.

    Mustafa had a successful 15-year career at the World Bank in the past, during which time he worked on projects to promote private enterprise in the Middle East and North Africa. He has worked for Arab investment funds, for example in Saudi Arabia, and has worked as a consultant to foreign governments such as Kuwait. He has also worked in Iraq and Jordan. So, he is a well-known figure in the Arab world.