The Palestinian Presidential Guard has upped security measures for President Mahmoud Abbas following his participation in former Israeli President Shimon Peres’ funeral last week.
The Palestinian media reported that “surprising changes” were introduced to Abbas’ security apparatus “in the wake of threats made against the president.”
Abbas’ critics, such as the blogger Fadi Salameen, said they had been contacted by members of the Presidential Guard who said that the alert had been raised, and that some members were suspended on suspicion that they may harm the president.
Writing to his 600,000 followers on Facebook, Salamin quoted a Presidential Guard official as saying that two suspects have been arrested for firing at Abbas’ residence, and will be charged with plotting to kill the president. According to the official, a gag order has been imposed.
A senior Abbas staffer confirmed to Breitbart Jerusalem that security measures have been stepped up “in response to the growing incitement against him,” but the president’s agenda remains unchanged.
“The president’s participation in the funeral, alongside world leaders, chief among them President Obama, was crucial in countering the Israeli right’s attempts to incite against the President and the Palestinians, which would have been successful had he chosen not to go,” he said.
The office of the President’s spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, declined to comment.
The simmering sentiments against Abbas culminated in a funeral procession of a resident of the Balata Refugee Camp, near Nablus, where participants called on him to resign following his participation in Peres’ funeral. Some, including Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades militants, chanted, “The people want to topple the president.”
Among Abbas’ high-profile critics was Father Manuel Musallam, the head of the Catholic Church in the Gaza Strip, who said that by attending Peres’ funeral “Abbas allowed Israel to complete the occupation of Palestine.”
“Today you ruined the Palestinian national project,” he said. “Today, the Palestinian Authority and its institutions ceased to exist. Today, you removed yourself from the hearts of the seekers of freedom, go look for a lid to cover the cave you share with the Israeli thieves. We beseech you: It’s a shame that you reside in the hearts of the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi, the Poles and all the Zionists, instead of in the hearts of the honorable fighters of your people.”
“Did Sharon attend Arafat’s funeral and lamented his death the same way you shed crocodile tears on Peres?” he wrote.