Aide curses Palestinian leader in leaked audio

RAMALLA, WEST BANK (AP) — President Mahmoud Abbas’ top adviser is seen cursing the Palestinian leader and insulting other members of the Palestinian leadership in a newly released recording on Tuesday. could hear.

The alleged statement by Hussein al-Sheikh said, Seen as a successor candidate It gave the 87-year-old Abbas a glimpse of the violent infighting within the Palestinian leadership as several hopefuls positioned themselves for the post-Abbasid era.

The beleaguered leader has not named a successor and called off last year what was supposed to be the first Palestinian parliamentary election in 15 years.

The recording was made public by a news website run by the militant Hamas Group, a bitter rival of Abbas’ Fatah party.

Hamas ousted pro-Abbas forces, took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, and trapped him in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. It is unclear when the recording was made, by whom, or how Hamas obtained it.

The exact context of the conversation was also unclear. But al-Sheikh is repeatedly heard complaining about Abbas and denigrating other potential presidential candidates.

Al-Sheikh is a high-ranking official in a powerful position who oversees day-to-day relations with Israel. He was also named executive director of the Palestine Liberation Organization this year, sparking speculation that Abbas is grooming him for president.

Elected to a four-year term in 2006, Abbas became increasingly unpopular during his tenure. He is widely seen as autocratic and out of touch with his people, and shares responsibility for years of intermittent failed peace talks.

Allegations of corruption within the PA; close security coordination with Israel; failure to stop Israeli daily military operations in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank; Measures to put pressure on Hamas have also played a role. to his unpopularity.

“Throughout the recording, Al-Sheikh refers to Abbas with a series of profanities.

In another section of over three minutes of audio, Al-Sheikh says that Abbas is “a partner in chaos, interested in the continuation of chaos.”

It was not clear whether al-Sheikh was referring to Israeli-Palestinian violence over recent months in the occupied West Bank, or Abbas’ protests against Palestinian authorities. Death of a prominent critic Palestinian detained in 2021.

You will hear audio rewind and fast forward sounds. This suggests that they have been edited and possibly taken out of context. Neither Abbas nor Al-Sheikh’s office responded to requests for comment.

Al-Sheikh continues to say Abbas is concerned about the attention the Israeli and US governments have shown to some key politicians. He accuses senior security officials of being involved in planning for the post-Abbasid era.

In an interview with the Associated Press in June, al-Sheikh declined to say whether he wanted to succeed Abbas.

He said the next president should be elected, but can only be retained if Israel allows voting across East Jerusalem, effectively giving it a veto power over other elected leaders.