Egyptian Ruler Is Fed up with Palestinian Leader Abbas
Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi has washed his hands of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and turned instead to fostering opposition Palestinian groups. He directed Egyptian intelligence Director Maj. Gen. Khaled Fawzi to invite Ramadan Shalah, head of the pro-Iranian Palestinian Jihad Islami for a visit to Cairo at the head of a delegation – not that there was much in particular to discuss with this radical group, but as a slap in the face for Abu Mazen.
DEBKA Weekly’s intelligence sources report that El-Sisi’s next invitation will probably go out to Hamas, the fundamentalist Palestinian terror group that rules the Gaza Strip in opposition to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.
Octogenarian Abbas is in hot water with key Arab governments over his obstinate rejection of every demand from Cairo, Riyadh, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to name a successor at the 7th Convention of his Fatah party opening Monday, Nov. 29.
To press this demand, a high-ranking Arab League delegation visited Ramallah on Nov. 9. League Secretary Ahmed Abu el-Khait and his two eminent predecessors, Amr Mussa and Nabil El-Arabi, leaned hard on Abbas to pick one of three candidates to succeed him. they are Nasser al-Kidwa, former PA foreign minister and nephew of Yasser Arafat, Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences for homicidal terror attacks on Israelis, and Muhammed Dahlan, former Gaza strongman and Abu Mazen’s sworn enemy.
An alternative proposal put before him was to join reconciliation talks in Cairo between his Fatah party and the rival Hamas, with a view to merging the Ramallah and Gaza government administrations.
The three Arab envoys informed Abbas that Hamas had finally come around to important concessions for the sake of burying the hatchet between them, including its first guarantee ever to keep its armed groups away from terrorist attacks on Israelis.
This merger held the promise of a trump card for Abbas in that he could strike down Israel’s argument that he is not qualified to speak for the Palestinian people since he represents only one half, while the other half is controlled by Hamas terrorists.
But Abu Mazen remained deaf to the Arab League’s exhortations, digging his heels in against quitting. The Arab emissaries were forced to leave Ramallah empty handed, even after they threatened the Palestinian leader with sanctions and the loss of his legitimacy in the Arab world.
The Egyptian media immediately released highly unflattering stories about him. One reported that relations between Egypt and the Palestinian leader had entered a dark tunnel.
The resolution on the table before the forthcoming Fatah convention has a single, unambiguous message: Mahmoud Abbas is granted a new, indefinite term – both as party chairman and as president of the Palestinian Authority. It will be carried for sure, because the delegates are being ruthlessly culled by a commission headed by Palestinian intelligence chief Gen. Majd Freij, to keep opposition voices out of the vote.