Skip to main content

Concern grows over Abbas’ autocratic tendencies

Several Fatah figures are worried that President Mahmoud Abbas is overstepping his authority and trying to impose his rule over the legislative and judicial branches.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah August 26, 2014. Abbas, 79, says he will not stand in future elections, so it is only a matter of time before he passes the baton to a new leader, one whom the vast majority of Palestinians - 4.4 million in the West Bank and Gaza and nearly 7 million elsewhere around the world - hope will lead to the foundation of an independent Palestinian state. The problem is that Abbas has not named a successor and sh
Read in 

The sight was unusual and the purpose was even more bizarre. A large contingent of the Palestinian police force surrounded the office of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), which has not been in session for years. Palestinian police showed up in the afternoon of Dec. 2 and have been stationed outside all its entrances and exits since.

Jehad Harb, a researcher at the PLC, told Al-Monitor that when he asked the police officers about their presence, they told him that President Mahmoud Abbas instructed them to prevent PLC Secretary-General Ibrahim Khreisheh from reaching his office. The Palestinian media reported that Khreisheh was fired from his position by Abbas, allegedly over his public support for the head of the civil servants union, Bassam Zakarneh. Khreisheh is a member of Abbas’ Fatah revolutionary PLC. Zakraneh and his deputy, Muin Ensawi, were arrested on Nov. 6 for leading an "illegal" union. Both were released on Nov. 13, but the union has been declared illegal and the legitimacy of the union is now to be evaluated in a Palestinian court.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.