Fatah Leadership Defends Abbas

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CBNNews.com - Senior officials in Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's government closed ranks behind their leader following criticism by one Fatah official.

Former PA minister Abu Ali Shaheen's critical assessment of Abbas and his government were posted on the al-Arabiya Web site over the weekend.

According to Jerusalem Post Palestinian Affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh, Shaheen is the first Fatah-affiliated official to publicly criticize the PA chairman in the six plus months since Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip last June.

"Abbas and the political leaders of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority were not there when Hamas staged its coup, but this did not prevent them from demanding a military victory from their men," Shaheen said.

The former minister said some Fatah leaders -- whom he didn't name -- were in cahoots with Hamas, while most were careful not to criticize Hamas publicly.

"If some of our leaders are indeed so naïve, then they should not be leading us," Shaheen said. "Those who fail to see the reality…are not worthy of leading. It's time for them to go away. Their continued presence in power is causing tremendous damage," he said.

Hakam Bala'awi, a close associate of Abbas, was quick to defend the PA chairman.

"Shaheen does not listen to or see anyone but himself," Bala'awi said. "That's why he didn't hear President Abbas's statement about the Hamas coup all these months. The president's statements reflect the views of the entire Fatah leadership," he said.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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