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PA donors warn Abbas not to replace Fayyad
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
04/24/2012
Donors aware of Abbas’s repeated attempts to remove Fayyad from power and seize control of Finance Ministry, diplomat says.
 
Donor countries have warned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas against trying to replace Prime Minister Salam Fayyad or confiscate his control over the PA Finance Ministry, a Western diplomat based in Israel told The Jerusalem Post Monday.

The diplomat said that the donors were aware of Abbas’s repeated attempts to remove Fayyad from power and seize control over the ministry.

“We won’t allow this to happen,” the diplomat said.

“We have made it clear to President Abbas that international aid will be affected if he or Fatah remove Fayyad.”

The warning came as sources in Ramallah confirmed that a sharp crisis has erupted between Abbas and Fayyad.

The sources said that the tensions between the two men began after Abbas announced his intention to reshuffle the cabinet. The announcement surprised Fayyad who, according to the sources, had not been notified in advance of the planned reshuffle.

Abbas has been under immense pressure from Fatah to either replace Fayyad or take the finance portfolio away from him.

Abbas’s previous attempts to conduct a cabinet reshuffle were foiled by Western donors, who fear that Fatah is trying to lay its hands on international financial aid earmarked for the Palestinians.

A report published Monday in the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper said that Abbas was no longer answering Fayyad’s phone calls.

The report said that Abbas was angry with Fayyad after the latter refused to deliver a letter from the PA president to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last week.

One source quoted Fayyad as saying, “I don’t work as a postman for Abbas and Fatah.”

Fayyad’s refusal to deliver the letter embarrassed the PA president, the source added.

Abbas’s office announced two weeks ago that Fayyad would head a delegation that would meet with Netanyahu and hand him the letter that outlines the PA’s position on the peace process and the two-state solution.

However, Fayyad announced at the last minute that he would not go to the meeting in Jerusalem, which coincided with the beginning of Palestinian “Prisoner Day” hunger strikes.

PA and Fatah officials in Ramallah refused Monday to discuss the Abbas-Fayyad tensions in public.

However, some Fatah officials pointed out that the rivalry between the two men was not new and that tensions between them have existed for some time now.

The officials noted that Fayyad had opposed Abbas’s statehood bid at the UN in September 2011 and the way the PA president was handling the issue of reconciliation with Hamas.

“President Abbas appointed Fayyad and he is the only one who could fire him or keep him in power,” said Fatah legislator Najat Abu Baker. “Palestinian women continue to deliver and there are thousands of people who could serve as prime minister and do what Fayyad is doing.”
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