TEL AVIV – Recent corruption scandals may jeopardize stability in the West Bank, with Palestinians turning their ire on the Palestinian Authority and not just Israel, an Arab intelligence source told Breitbart Jerusalem.
The Palestinian media reported this week that cronies of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, presidential advisor Mahmoud Al-Habash, and Director of Intelligence Majed Faraj, were appointed to lofty public positions amid mounting unemployment among university graduates.
It was reported that Habash’s son was hired as a state prosecutor even though he graduated from university with a mediocre overall grade of 53 percent.
Rattled by the public outcry, PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ associates went on the defensive and accused his challenger, Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan, of waging a smear campaign against the president.
The Arab source said that intelligence reviews indicate that Abbas’ popularity hit rock bottom against the backdrop of the corruption scandals and the diplomatic stalemate vis-à-vis Israel. He added that a popular uprising in the West Bank is not an unlikely scenario – only that this time it could be directed against Abbas and not just Israel.
“The Palestinian Authority that has so far proved immune to the Arab Spring could witness the rise of a popular resistance movement, a ‘Palestinian Spring’ that would seek to expunge Abbas along with corruption at the top,” he said.
This scenario has far-reaching ramifications, he said, and not only in the domestic arena, “because the group getting most of the fire is the one in charge of security coordination with Israel and the US, which is why we follow with concern what seems like loss of control in some areas, especially in the big refugee camps in Nablus, Jenin, and around Ramallah.
“The population there is poorer and more distressed but also the population is less tolerant of corruption. We’ve seen clashes between PA forces and gunmen in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, as well as in Jenin and the Alamaari refugee camp near Ramallah, and Jerusalem.”
Abbas’ fate has become the talk of the day in Arab capitals, especially Cairo, Amman, and Riyadh, he added.
“A destabilization process in Palestine, which could in turn be turned against Israel, may well fan the already high flames of the region,” he said.
Palestinian politics feature in Israeli-Jordanian and Israeli-Egyptian discussions as well, he said.
“Everybody is concerned about Abbas losing control,” he said. “The problem is that even if the peace process started again, it wouldn’t address the corruption issue, which the Palestinians have decided they are fed up with regardless of regional matters.”