TEL AVIV – Arab and Muslim leaders have been deliberately shunning Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, disappointed at what they see as his failed leadership, a top Palestinian official told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Iyad Almadani, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, cancelled a visit to Ramallah on Sunday shortly before he was supposed to start a two-day trip to the city, citing a last-minute emergency.
PLO official and Abbas associate Ahmad Majdalani told the media that the visit has been postponed indefinitely and did not provide further details.
Sources close to the Palestinian leadership were quoted by the Palestinian news media claiming that Almadani wanted to avoid friction with Israeli soldiers at West Bank checkpoints.
Almadani’s cancellation came less than two weeks after a similar cancellation by Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Alarabi. Abbas’ associates also cited Israeli checkpoints as the reason, but the Palestinian media said Alarabi was deterred by the harsh criticism leveled at him by Palestinian politicians who accused him of trying to normalize ties with Israel, in line with the Arab peace initiative, at the Palestinians’ expense.
Moreover, a top Palestinian official told Breitbart Jerusalem that Arab and Muslim leaders have lost faith in Abbas’s leadership and expressed dismay at recent corruption scandals in which he and his sons were embroiled.
The official said that the Palestinians’ most important strategic relationships – with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan – have suffered serious setbacks “even though Abbas met with the Saudi and Jordanian kings recently.”
He said that Abbas’ relations with leaders from other Arab countries, mainly in the Persian Gulf, have significantly deteriorated.
“Unfortunately, even though Arab leaders still perceived Israel as the main obstacle to peace, Abu Mazen (Abbas) is seen more and more like part of the problem rather than the solution,” he said. “These leaders shy away from meeting him, especially in the West Bank, because he is seen as a failed and corrupt leader who has no clear agenda on the peace process.”
The Palestinian Authority now looks to Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri’s visit, scheduled for next week. If it is cancelled, it will be a devastating blow to Abbas and his diplomatic efforts in the Arab world, the official said.