A leaked audiotape published on Wednesday night features Chief PLO Negotiator Saeb Erekat launching an unprecedented attack on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Erekat responded to the audiotape by saying his words had been taken out of context.
It’s not known when Erekat was recorded. A source in Ramallah said that Erekat’s criticism of Abbas might have been recorded sometime last month.
In the audiotape, Erekat is heard strongly criticizing Abbas for failing to seek United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state.
“Abbas has reached the age of 79,” Erekat is heard saying. “How long will he live? He should take a position and protect the Palestinian national project. Everything is in Abbas’s hands.”
Erekat continues his attack on Abbas by declaring: “Palestine is not the private fiefdom of Abbas’s father. Palestine is bigger than persons. He [Abbas] won’t listen to me. I submitted my resignation twice.”
Erekat says that Abbas is perhaps seeking to become “like [Syrian President Bashar] Assad and [former Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein.”
Erekat mocks at Abbas, dubbing him a powerless leader: “[Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu hasn’t left you anything of the authority. You [Abbas] need permission from an Israeli army officer in Bet El to travel to Jordan. The Israelis intentionally humiliate Abbas.”
Erekat also criticizes Abbas for failing to take action to prosecute Netanyahu as a “war criminal.”
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