Arafat’s nephew blasts ‘totalitarian’ Palestinian president

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A 12 months after fleeing the West Bank, a nephew of late Palestinian chief Yasser Arafat has returned to Gaza and is difficult his uncle’s embattled successor, 86-year-old president Mahmud Abbas.

Nasser al-Kidwa, 69, a former Palestinian international minister, branded Abbas’s Palestinian Authority as “totalitarian,” and mentioned it was appearing with disregard for the individuals it’s speculated to serve who’re living underneath Israeli occupation.

“He does whatever he wants, without any consideration to anything,” Kidwa mentioned of Abbas, whose help amongst Palestinians has plummeted, in keeping with surveys. “Neither the law, nor the institutions, nor traditions, even family traditions”.

Kidwa returned to Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip after a 12 months of self-imposed exile in France, and informed AFP from the enclave that returning to the occupied West Bank wouldn’t be secure.

Gaza, the Arafat household’s ancestral home, has been managed by the Islamist group Hamas since 2007, bitter rivals of Abbas’s secular Fatah motion that Yasser Arafat co-founded in 1959.

Kidwa was ejected from Fatah final 12 months after attempting to kind a candidates listing to problem Abbas loyalists in Palestinian legislative polls that had been scheduled for May 2021.

Abbas’s resolution to cancel these polls, which might have been the primary Palestinian elections in 15 years, fuelled additional fees of authoritarianism.

– ‘Commanding braveness’? –

Gaza was the place in 1994 Yasser Arafat returned to the Palestinian territories after 27 years in exile, following the Oslo peace accords with Israel.

A stream of holiday makers — native leaders, teachers and spiritual figures — have visited Kidwa at his modest Gaza City workplace, the place paint chips flaked off the outside partitions.

He claimed there was broad consciousness about Abbas’s dictatorial tendencies, together with with Fatah.

“It is not a matter of seeing the problems. It is the problem of commanding the necessary courage to stand up and say no, we cannot do it this way,” he mentioned.

Kidwa raised particular alarm about what he mentioned was the collapse of Palestinian establishments, that are restricted in scope by the Israeli occupation however nonetheless significant.

The Palestinian Legislative Council has not met since 2007, the 12 months Hamas seized energy in Gaza following road battles with the PA.

“The institutions were destroyed, sometimes, I would say by design,” mentioned Kidwa.

“He (Abbas) is ruling by decree, and decrees that are ridiculous,” he mentioned. “During Arafat’s time there was political disagreement… But not fear.”

– After Abbas –

Abbas at the moment leads Fatah, the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organization, successfully giving him full management over Palestinian politics within the West Bank.

Signs of resentment have been rising for months.

Rare anti-Abbas road protests erupted in Ramallah and different cities following the loss of life in Palestinian custody of distinguished activist and PA critic Nizar Banat final 12 months.

Last week, gun battles between militants and PA forces raged in central Nablus within the northern West Bank after Palestinian police arrested a distinguished Hamas member, with some within the metropolis blasting Abbas over his persevering with safety cooperation with Israel.

Many imagine that Abbas, whose well being stays a topic of intense hypothesis, has already picked his successor.

In May he issued a decree appointing Hussein Al Sheikh, a strong insider, as the brand new PLO secretary basic, a move extensively seen as an anointment.

Al Sheikh is regarded by many as unpopular, with simply two p.c of Palestinians naming him as their desired subsequent chief, in keeping with a ballot by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.

Kidwa says that any settlement to put in Al Sheikh, or anybody else as chief, following an undemocratic deal cooked up by “15-20 guys in a room that’s full of smoke,” could be “refused by the Palestinian people.”

Like many specialists, he warned that given Palestinian political divisions and the dearth of an apparent successor, the times after Abbas’s loss of life may very well be “chaotic,” and “maybe violent.”

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