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Palestinians quit cabinet in protest

Hanan Ashrawi, one of the most prominent figures in the Palestinian administration, has resigned following a controversial cabinet shakeup announced Wednesday by President Yasser Arafat.

Arafat surprised Palestinian legislators by failing to remove ministers the legislators had wanted fired for alleged graft and mismanagement.

Ashrawi was switched to the tourism ministry from higher education. She said she had decided not to accept the appointment.

"Being part of this new formation, in my opinion, will not achieve anything," Ashrawi said.

Ashrawi said her relationship with Arafat was "based on mutual respect" but complained that "decision making has in a sense been reduced to a few people."

A second cabinet member, Minister of State Abdul Jawad Saleh, has also handed in his resignation.