PA Official: Fatah Convention Drives Wedge Between Abbas, Arab Countries

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a joint press conference with Prime Minister of Sweden in the Bella Venezia room at the Rosenbad government office in Stockholm on February 10, 2015.

The Palestinian Authority’s Arab allies have become disenchanted with President Mahmoud Abbas after he and his cronies were reelected at last week’s Fatah convention, a Palestinian official told Breitbart Jerusalem.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE were frustrated that their attempts to create unity within Fatah, especially between Abbas and his main rival Mohammed Dahlan, were stymied by the incumbent president.

In his opening speech, Abbas said that the convention, in which the executive committee and the revolutionary council stood for reelection, was about “national sovereignty,” suggesting that Dahlan is a puppet of foreign powers, especially Egypt and the UAE.

A member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council told Breitbart Jerusalem that although Abbas came out of the convention victorious, consolidating his rule and marginalizing his rivals, “in the eyes of the public it was an undemocratic, single-minded event that brought zero change to the personal as well as ideological makeup of the movement.”

However, he said, “whereas the Palestinian leadership has become accustomed to being accused of being out of touch with the populace, the implications for the PA’s relations with the Arab world are likely to be significant.”

“The Palestinians have been bending over backwards to bring the United States, France and the European Union to back their motions in the UN, but so far these efforts have not met with success because of the Arab countries’ tepid reaction,” he said. “They see Abbas as representing a portion of his movement, and a portion of his people, and realize that despite his crushing victory at the Fatah convention, he is a lame duck backed by scarce popular support and a divided party. Under these circumstances, the outcome of the convention did more harm than good. The community of nations understands that with Dahlan out of the picture, combined with Hamas’ contrarian position, no diplomatic process is feasible.”

He said that the Palestinians have been trying to lobby the French to hold an international peace summit, “but right now, led by a feckless man, the Palestinian efforts are easily torpedoed by Israel.”

“Instead of harnessing the Arab countries’ improving relations with Israel towards a new round of negotiation, Abbas will have to restore his relationship with Arab countries, some of which, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are the PA’s financial backers. Without them, the economic and diplomatic prospects look bleak. But hey, at least the president was reelected.”


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