Fatah official: PA acting on US dictates towards renewed relations

January 12, 2021 by Baruch Yedid - TPS
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“The Palestinian Authority recently received messages from Joe Biden’s men in which the Americans expressed their desire to hold elections [in the PA] to renew the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority, reduce Abu Mazen’s [PA head Mahmoud Abbas’] control over security, justice and civilian institutions and expressed their desire to inject new blood into Palestinian Authority institutions, even at the cost of dismissing corrupt elements,” a senior Fatah official claimed in a conversation with TPS.

Gazan people, supporters of the Fatah Movement and its leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), waving flags and placards in a demonstration against US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan and in favor of Mahmoud Abbas’ planned speech in the UN. Gaza, Feb 11, 2020. Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS

He said the messages were conveyed to Ramallah by a businessman from the PA who lives in Washington and serves as an unofficial channel of communication between Biden’s team and the PA.

According to the senior Fatah official, the Americans believe that these measures will pave the way for cooperation between the Biden administration and Abbas’ regime.

Arab sources claim that the PA also recently signalled a series of “tribute measures” towards the US, designed to allow the beginning of cooperation with the Biden administration, and as part of this decided to reform the way salaries are paid to terrorists released from Israeli prisons.

The sources added that the PA had even agreed to stop joining a series of international conventions. The PA’s previous joining of a series of agreements and conventions, in contravention of the Oslo Accords, has provoked opposition and anger from Israel.

A PA official confirmed the words of the senior Fatah official and said that the Authority has recently begun a shuffle within its ranks, acting on American dictates.

He said that new appointments are also expected in the PA’s security systems.

According to him, Abbas’ willingness to go to the polls soon is also a result of the US dictates.

PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Monday that the government had put forward a proposal for Abbas to appoint deputies to each of the heads of the PA’s various branches.

Recent appointments in the PA include the dismissal of Ahmad Baraq, who headed the anti-corruption authority, and the soon-to-be-appointed Raed Radwan in his place.

Sources in Ramallah claim that Baraq has been linked to suspicions of personal corruption and others claim that the decision to fire him comes precisely because of the fear that he was about to publish a series of corruption scandals that could embarrass Abbas.

Judge Osama al-Dabas will be appointed as Radwan’s deputy and Judge Iman Nasser a-Din will be appointed to head the Supreme Judicial Council in place of Issa Abu Sharar. This is a woman’s first appointment to the position.

Adnan Damiri, the spokesman for the PA security services, will also be replaced by Superintendent Talal Dwikat. Kase Khatib will be appointed to head the Land and Water Authority in place of Musa Shakarna and the position of Chief Attorney will be filled by attorney Rasha Amarna.

Another presidential decision stipulates that Abu Maher Hillas will head the Palestinian Red Crescent in the Gaza Strip.

Recently, the PA has also decided to make structural changes in dozens of government agencies, abolishing some of them and merging other authorities to avoid duplication.

Thus, for example, the Palestinian National Committee for International Humanitarian Legislation was been subordinated to the Ministry of Justice, and the Financial Audit Council was subordinated to the Ministry of Finance.

The Ports Authority and the Aviation Authority will also be merged under the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and it has been decided to abolish the Authority for the Supervision of Radiation and Nuclear (Medical) Activities and to transfer its powers to the Environment Authority.

Changes are also being made in a number of economic institutions, insurance institutions, funds and corporations.

It should be noted that in the framework of the American dictates, the PA held an international conference in mid-December 2020, the second in the fight against corruption, under the title “Policy of Integrity, Transparency and Accountability – Between Theory and Practice”.

The conference on Zoom was attended by the Shtayyeh, heads and representatives of Arab and international anti-corruption organizations, experts and diplomats.

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