(photo credit: AP)
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is expected to seek the backing of the Fatah central committee on Monday for dissolving the Hamas-led government and parliament and calling early elections, PA officials in Ramallah said.
The committee, which is one of the key decision-making bodies of Fatah, will convene in the Jordanian capital of Amman to discuss the ongoing crisis with Hamas in the wake of the breakdown of the negotiations over the formation of a unity government.
"President Abbas will brief the committee members on the latest crisis," said one official. "He will tell the members that Hamas is not serious about forming a unity government because it does not want to recognize the agreements that were signed between the PLO and Israel."
Abbas will also ask the committee to support any measure he takes to resolve the crisis, including the possibility of dissolving the government and parliament and calling new elections by the end of next year, the official added. "We believe that there is a majority in the committee that already supports such a move," he said.
The meeting, the second of its kind in less than three months, will also focus on ways of "reconstructing" Fatah in the aftermath of the
party's defeat in last January's parliamentary election. The committee, which is dominated by representatives of the "old guard" in Fatah, has been under immense pressure by younger members to introduce major reforms and get rid of corrupt leaders.
Demanding a larger say in decision-making, "young guard" Fatah members have repeatedly criticized the committee for failing to set a date for internal elections in the party.
At the last meeting of the central committee, which was also held in Amman, Abbas and his colleagues failed to reach an agreement on
holding a general conference for Fatah ahead of internal elections that would inject fresh blood into the party.
"This is going to be the last meeting before Abbas takes drastic measures to end the crisis on the Palestinian arena," a top Fatah official told The Jerusalem Post. "After returning to Ramallah, Abbas will deliver a speech in which he will announce dramatic measures."
According to the official, Abbas is now facing two options: calling early elections or reviving his plan to hold a referendum on whether Hamas should change its policies.
The meeting in Amman comes amid reports that the US had allocated some $42 million to bolster opponents of the Hamas-led government. The reports have seriously embarrassed Abbas and Fatah, prompting them to issue strong denials.
Several Fatah leaders on Sunday claimed that the reports, which cited an official US document, were "untrue." A source in Abbas's office
said the PA chairman was "enraged" by the leaking of the document.
"Fatah has openly declared that it would not receive any money from the US," said Fatah legislator Muhammad Hourani. "The American money
is going mostly to non-governmental organizations and some Islamic institutions, including the Islamic University in Gaza City."
Fahmi Zaarir, a Fatah spokesman in the West Bank, described the reports as "rumors designed to defame and undermine" Fatah.
"Fatah is the last and most important national liberation movement in the Arab world and that's why there are some who are trying to destroy it," he said. Zaarir accused the US of seeking to undermine Fatah and Abbas by spreading stories about its intention to give them money.