Out of patience with Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen), and his endless machinations over holding on to power and legacy, Jordan’s King Abdullah gave him a right royal dressing-down when they met in Amman Sunday, Aug. 30.
Their talks were officially termed “constructive.” But DEBKA Weekly discloses that the king was not deterred by being half the age of the 80-year old Palestinian leader from peremptorily telling him off about his plans to purge the Palestinian ruling bodies of his enemies, elevate the authority of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee and pack it with new faces.
Abdullah was so furious that he barely let Abbas finish talking, before he rejected the plan out of hand. Instead, he laid down the law on eight key issues:
Abbas ordered to scrap Palestinian leadership reshuffle
1. Abu Mazen must scrap his plan forthwith, although it had been going forward since late July, and his henchmen, Saeb Erekat, Akram Haniyeh and Palestinian intelligence chief Mejad Freij, were working to a September deadline for its realization. By then, the PA chairman expected to see a row of new faces in the PLO Executive, picked largely from among the sons of Fatah and PLO founders, including primarily Abbas’ own son and designated successor, Yasser Abbas (named for the late Yasser Arafat).
Abdullah ordered these appointments annulled and the incumbent holders retained.
2. He specifically vetoed the ouster of two of Abbas’ leading opponents in the Palestinian Authority, Jibril Rajoub and Tawfiq Tirawi, themselves rivals, who are now in league against Abu Mazen.
3. He also turned down the Palestinian leader’s decision to elevate the PLO Executive Committee as the supreme ruling body, with jurisdiction over the government administration and Palestinian Authority.
4. Abdullah was totally against Saeb Erekat’s appointment as transitional prime minister – even ad hoc.
5. Neither would he accept the leader’s son as successor.
Abdullah wants Abbas Junior out, Mohammed Dahlan in
Yasser Abbas, 52, left Ramallah for Canada in 1997, graduated from Washington State University as a civil engineer and went into business. Among the companies he established in Canada, the Persian Gulf and the West Bank, is Falcon Tobacco, sole importer of American cigarettes to the territory.
There are many rumors in Palestinian circles about how Abbas Junior made his fortune, whether by corruption in high places or a silent US hand which sought to seduce Abbas Senior into coming around to the Washington viewpoint on ways to resolve the Palestinian-Israel dispute.
One thing our sources have established definitely is that Yasser has excellent connections in Washington D.C, which will no doubt help his career prospects in Ramallah.
6. Abdullah’s most insistent stipulation, which was hardest for Abbas swallow, was that he make up his quarrel with his most detested enemy, Mohammed Dahlan, the Fatah leader who was the Gaza Strip’s strongman and senior officer in Yasser Arafat’s intifada suicide bombing campaign in the early 2000s.
Dahlan has since reinvented himself as a business tycoon and the hottest contender for Abbas’ role as head of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah party.
Abbas must stop Palestinians Temple Mt. clashes with Israelis
On the day Abbas received a scolding from the king, Dahlan called for his ouster as Chairman of the Palestinian Authority in a BBC interview.
Referring to the oft-postponed elections, Dahlan said Abu Mazen “does not want elections, nor does he want to resign. He also does not want an open reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.”
Dahlan disowned any ambition to be president himself, but reserved the right to nominate himself if he changed his mind. He also demanded the complete suspension of Palestinian security coordination with Israel. The Oslo Accord (on which it is based) had “expired” and was no longer relevant, he said..
“I was part of the security agreement when it was based on political and economic security between us and Israel. Today, however, it is a very different time.”
Abbas, as a well-seasoned politician himself, no doubt sensed the common themes running through King Abdullah’s injunctions to himself and his enemy’s sentiments.
7. The monarch finally pressed Abbas to cool the unrest rocking the Palestinian street over Temple Mount, and to stop egging on the radical elements looking for clashes with Israel and its security forces over the shrine.
8. Abdullah informed him that in the capacity he had assumed of Custodian of Temple Mount, he will order the number of Muslim Guards at the holy site to be doubled and able to quell the disturbances.