Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Muhammed Dahlan (right).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas lacks “intelligence” and “does not want to do anything,” a senior Egyptian intelligence official said in a leaked phone conversation with Muhammad Dahlan.
Dahlan is Abbas’s primary rival.
The Turkey-based Mukmaleen network, which broadcasted the phone conversation on Sunday, identified the intelligence officer as Wael Safti, who is responsible for the Palestinian affairs in the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate.
Mukmaleen is considered critical of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi’s regime and has leaked unflattering tapes of the Egyptian president.
At the start of the phone conversation, Safti greets Dahlan and then remarks, “Undoubtedly there is a problem... I have noticed that his concentration is insufficient,” referring to Abbas. “He has nothing to offer.”
Safti then says Abbas “acts like a camel.” In Arabic, a “camel” refers to someone who brings no new ideas to the table because camels chew their cud, swallow it and repeat the process again.
The senior intelligence officer continued, saying that Abbas “is not intelligent at all in terms of how he acts,” adding, “He does not want to change. He does not want to do anything at all.
“He is sitting and talking nonsense to the right and the left, while the situation is catching on fire. Nothing makes a difference for him.”
Safti then exclaims that Fatah and the PLO are in poor standing: “Fatah is deeply troubled and the PLO is even [more troubled],” before saying that Abbas has failed “to bring together” and “contain” the different PLO actions.
At the end of the phone conversation, Safti describes Abbas’s leadership as “stupidity.”
Following the leak of the phone conversation, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri did an interview with al-Youm al-Sabaa, an Egyptian newspaper, in which he described a positive relationship between Egyptian President Sisi and President Abbas.
“I believe the last meeting between President Sisi and [Abbas] in New York saw an intimate dialogue and mutual understating of the different issues,” Shukri said, stating further that Egypt does not plan to intervene in internal Palestinian affairs.
“Egypt has no intention to impose a vision on the PA or the Palestinian people. It is more worthwhile for the Palestinians to deal with Palestinian issues because they know their interests best.”
The Palestinian Authority has not issued an official response to the leaked phone conversation, but posted the Shukri interview on its official news site, Wafa.
Since fleeing the West Bank and being ousted from Fatah in 2011, Dahlan has cultivated close relationships with top Egyptian officials. Reports surfaced recently that Egypt and other Arab states have been pressuring President Abbas to reinstate Dahlan in Fatah and allow him to return to Ramallah.
Nonetheless, Abbas has expressed no intention of allowing his main rival to return to Fatah or Ramallah.