EXCLUSIVE – Palestinian Officials Arm Loyalists Ahead of Abbas’ Presumed Departure

TEL AVIV – Palestinian Authority leaders jockeying for power have started arming loyalist groups as President Mahmoud Abbas appears set to step down at some point in the near future, a Palestinian security source told Breitbart Jerusalem.

The source said that the decline of the Palestinian Authority’s central command has led to the disruption of law and order in the West Bank, a trend exacerbated by PA political and security officials, who are trying to the lay the foundations for the morning after Abbas’ departure, “which they estimate is around the corner.”

“These people,” the source continued, “are in the process of recruiting loyalists by arming them and paying them off.”

One indication of the extent of the trend is the fact that weapons prices have gone through the roof, the source said. “The most popular firearms have doubled in price due to the growing demand, created by these officials.”

“The upcoming succession struggle will be very tough, because some security officials, like Majed Faraj, the Palestinian intelligence chief, see themselves as Abbas’ natural successors, whereas other political leaders, like Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat also see themselves as natural successors, and then there’s Mohammed Dahlan,” he said. “Many officials seek to accumulate power before the battle begins.”

Last week, Breitbart Jerusalem reported that the deterioration of the security situation in the West Bank reached a new low with the killing of two PA security officers by gunmen. In addition, Fatah activists have been arrested by Israel on suspicion of trading in and possession of firearms, including the sons of Jihad Msseimi, the Palestinian deputy police commissioner.


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