Yasser Arafat’s nephew: Palestinian Authority ‘smashes’ inherited institution

The Palestinian Authority leadership is working to destroy Yasser Arafat’s legacy and heritage, Nasser al-Kidwa, the nephew of the former PLO leader, said on Monday.

In a statement marking the 17th anniversary of Arafat’s death, al-Kidwa accused the leadership of the Palestinian Authority of illegally laying their hands on the Yasser Arafat Foundation, an organization founded in 2008 “to preserve the legacy of the late president. and to perpetuate his memory among the Palestinian people and the Arab peoples and friends ”.

Arafat died in a French hospital on November 11, 2004.

In March, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas decided to suspend funding for the Ramallah-based foundation. He also fired al-Kidwa as director of the Yasser Arafat Foundation despite the fact that it is a legally independent institution.

Abbas’s moves came shortly after he expelled al-Kidwa from the ruling Fatah faction due to the latter’s decision to form his own Fatah-affiliated list called the Democratic National Assembly ahead of parliamentary elections, which were supposed to take place. place on May 22.

Abbas canceled the elections on the pretext that Israel did not allow the vote to take place in Jerusalem.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not pictured) in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 25, 2021 (credit : ALEX BRANDON / POOL VIA REUTERS).

Kidwa then merged his list with the jailed Fatah leader, Marwan Barghouti, and produced the Freedom list. The move was seen by many Palestinians as a major challenge to Abbas and the veteran Fatah leadership by two of the faction’s most prominent figures.

In addition to the official list consisting of Abbas loyalists, another list endorsed by Mohammed Dahlan, an exiled Fatah leader and Abbas’ arch rival, was also planning to stand in parliamentary elections. Dahlan has been living in the UAE since 2011, when he, too, was expelled from Fatah after a dispute with Abbas.

The latest allegations by al-Kidwa are another sign of ongoing tensions among senior officials in the ruling Fatah faction headed by Abbas.

Kidwa and other top Fatah officials called for major reforms in the Palestinian political system and criticized Abbas’s authoritarian rule over the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinians believe that Abbas decided to suspend the elections mainly due to the division in Fatah, especially the alliance between al-Kidwa and Barghouti, the jailed Fatah leader who served five life sentences for his role in a series of terrorist attacks during World War II. World. Intifada two decades ago.

Public opinion polls published by various institutions in recent years have shown that Barghouti is the pro-Palestinian candidate to replace Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority.

Kidwa joined Fatah in 1969 and subsequently joined its Central Committee. He previously served as the PLO’s representative to the United Nations and as the Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister.

In his statement, al-Kidwa said: “As we approach the commemoration of the 17th anniversary of the martyrdom of the founding leader, the spirit of Abu Ammar (Arafat’s nom de guerre) appears to us filled with sadness and sorrow for him. state of affairs in the Palestinian arena in general and in its institution in particular ”.

Kidwa accused Palestinian Authority leaders of insisting on “trashing” the Yasser Arafat Foundation by taking control of it and laying off most of the workers.

“Unfortunately, the Yasser Arafat Foundation, which was legally built, no longer exists,” Kidwa accused. “What exists now is an idiotic sign attached to the Mukata (Abbas’s presidential compound). In the end, it seems that the aim of all this is to undermine the biography of Yasser Arafat and diminish his legacy ”.


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