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Abbas strips Palestinian rivals of diplomatic passports

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has taken to revoking the diplomatic passports of his political opponents and granting them to his supporters.
Mahmoud Abbas addresses UNGA in New York

RAMALLAH, West Bank — In a new step against his political rivals, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has revoked the diplomatic passports of several former officials. They include Nasser al-Qudwa, a former Palestinian Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs who also served as Palestine’s ambassador to the United Nations for 20 years; Yasser Abed Rabbo, a fomer aid to Abbas and secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization; Bassam Abu Sharif, a former political adviser to late President Yasser Arafat and members of the dissolved Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).

Abbas’ moves come under a legal amendment he issued Feb. 3, altering the conditions for granting and withdrawing diplomatic passports. The legislation gives Abbas the authority to grant diplomatic passports to anyone he wishes, by expanding the category of eligible beneficiaries. He has been using it to reward his loyalists and punish his critics. 

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