Friday, 23 August 2013

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MEMRI Daily: August 23, 2013

Special Dispatch No. 5419

Opposition To 'Abbas Emerging Within Palestinian Authority: Senior Fatah Members Criticize Government 

For Anti-Democratic Methods, Corruption

Recently, several senior Fatah members have sharply and openly criticized the nature of the Palestinian Authority (PA) 
government, headed by President Mahmoud 'Abbas. Essentially, they accused 'Abbas of concentrating in his hands 
a great number of functions and powers; this, they say, constitutes an infringement of democratic rule. They also 
alleged that there is corruption in the PA and its security apparatuses, and that they are exceeding their authority and 
suppressing freedom of expression by intimidating anyone who dares to speak out against 'Abbas.
It is noteworthy that some of those who are criticizing 'Abbas are known to be close to PA Legislative Council member 
Muhammad Dahlan, who was expelled from Fatah in 2011 after he was accused of attempting to undermine 'Abbas. It is 
possible that these critics are trying to lay the groundwork for his return to the movement's top echelon.
One striking example of this criticism by Fatah members is an unprecedentedly harsh June 27, 2013 article by former 
PA minister and Dahlan associate Sufyan Abu Zaydeh, who moved from Gaza to the West Bank after the June 2007 
Hamas coup in Gaza. In his op-ed, which was published by the Palestinian news agency Ma'an, Abu Zaydeh criticized
 the plethora of powers held by 'Abbas, which he says are so numerous that democratic principles such as separation 
of powers are being trampled, and argued that the Palestinian people have lost confidence in 'Abbas's leadership.
In response to Abu Zaydeh's article, the PA security apparatuses released a communiqué accusing him of damaging 
Palestinian unity and undermining 'Abbas's authority. In it, they claimed that he is serving the agenda of those who have 
fled the homeland – clearly alluding to Dahlan – and that Abu Zaydeh is pretending to speak on behalf of the Palestinian 
people without being authorized to do so.
This communiqué enraged Abu Zaydeh as well as a number of other senior Fatah officials; they accused the security 
apparatuses of breaking the law, exceeding their authority, silencing people, and suppressing freedom of expression. 
They also accused them of intimidation, such as shooting at the vehicles of senior Fatah officials whom they considered 
close to Dahlan or who had criticized the PA and 'Abbas – for example, the May 2013 shooting at the vehicle of Legislative 
Council member Majed Abu Shamala, who is close to Dahlan and who served as Fatah secretary-general in Gaza prior
 to the June 2007 coup, and the July 1 shooting at the vehicle of senior Fatah member Hussam Khader, who is known for 
his criticism of PA corruption.
Several Fatah members and columnists in the PA dailies and on a website close to the PLO joined in the criticism of t
he PA, and even warned that physical harm could come to Abu Zaydeh. In contrast, Fatah members and other columnists
 expressed their support for 'Abbas and for limits on free speech, contending that Abu Zaydeh's motive for writing the 
article was his close relationship with Dahlan.
Asked about the nature of his government at a press conference in Lebanon, 'Abbas said: "My powers [as PA president] 
have lapsed, and therefore I demand that parliamentary and presidential elections be held." He denied being a dictator, 
and argued that he couldn't be one even had he wanted to, adding that "proof that I am no dictator is the fact that I did 
not compel [prime minister Rami] Hamdallah to continue serving in his post."
This report will discuss Sufyan Abu Zaydeh's op-ed and the reactions to it in the PA and Fatah.

MEMRI TV Clip 3954

Tamarrud Movement In Gaza Calls To Oust Hamas On November 11, The Anniversary Of Arafat's Death

Following are excerpts from a statement by the the Tamarrud Movement against Oppression in Gaza, which was posted on
 August 20, 2013.
"Speaker: On the shining day [of November 11], we will shake off the tyranny and oppression of the Muslim Brotherhood [i.e.,
 Hamas] in Gaza. They are no brothers of ours.
"They have deceived us in the name of religion and 'resistance.' They have labeled themselves as believers and us as infidels.
Allah alone has the authority to deem someone an infidel or a traitor, but they do not understand this.
"Our people has never known bloodshed for the sake of bloodshed alone, except at the hands of the gang of Hamas.
Our people have never suffered daily humiliation, torture, trumped-up charges, denial of people's rights, and the triumph of
 the oppressor over the oppressed except at the hands of the gang of Hamas in Gaza.
"The time has come to refuse to die oppressed under the rod of the security [agencies] of Hamas."