Arafat’s nephew returns to Gaza to challenge ‘totalitarian’ Abbas - The Jewish Voice
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Friday, December 2, 2022

Arafat’s nephew returns to Gaza to challenge ‘totalitarian’ Abbas

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By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

A former Palestinian foreign minister and nephew of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has returned to Gaza a year after fleeing in order to challenge the “totalitarian” leadership of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas “does whatever he wants, without any consideration to anything,” Nasser al-Kidwa said, according to AFP. “Neither the law, nor the institutions, nor traditions, even family traditions.”

Kidwa said he returned to Gaza because going to Judea and Samaria would pose a threat to his life by his enemies in the ruling Ramallah government.

Last year, he was ousted from Abbas’ ruling Fatah faction, which Arafat co-founded in 1959, after attempting to build a candidates list to replace the Palestinian president’s own list in legislative polls that were later nixed.

According to Kidwa, Palestinian institutions have been intentionally destroyed by the PA.

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

Kidwa warned that the lack of a successor to Abbas made the likelihood of violence erupting following the death of the 86-year-old leader very high.


According to IDF Col. (res.) David Hacham, a senior research associate at the MirYam Institute, the power struggle raging over who will succeed Abbas has turned Judea and Samaria into a powder keg waiting to explode.

“Some of the candidates to succeed Abbas are backed by armed militias that carry out their orders. As a result, political strife may flare up and turn into violent eruptions, though the possible successors may also be able to settle their differences without a civil war. The most likely scenario is a limited internal clash,” Hacham told JNS earlier this month.

“Individual behavior [in these areas] is governed more by traditional tribal/clan rules than by the judicial system or the PA’s security forces,” he said. “Tensions in the Palestinian arena are connected to the PA’s weakness, with PA security personnel fearful of dealing with terrorist gunmen and avoiding decisive action against them on the ground.”

In June, Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh was appointed secretary-general of the PLO and head of the PLO negotiating team, with some claiming the appointments marked him as a de facto successor to Abbas.

However, Sheikh is vastly unpopular with both Fatah and the Palestinians in general, and is is labeled a collaborator with Israel.

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