PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh (third left) and other members of the new government attend the swearing-in ceremony in Ramallah last month..
(photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
The clan of a Palestinian man from Jenin who reportedly agreed to attend Tuesday’s US-led economic workshop in Manama, Bahrain has issued a statement “disowning” him and accusing him of collaboration with Israel.
The man, Mohammed Arif Masad, from the town of Burqin, 5 km. west of Jenin, is reported to have moved to Israel two decades ago after being accused of collaboration with Israeli authorities.
The clan said in its statement that it cut its ties with Masad 20 years ago because he “deviated from the national line and the morals, values and traditions of his family.”
The clan said that Masad represents only himself and pledged its support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO for their “courageous stance against all those who are conspiring [against the Palestinians] by attending suspicious conferences.”
The Palestinian ruling Fatah faction headed by Abbas published the family’s statement and photos of Masad on its official Facebook page.
Masad was suspected of collaboration with Israel during the first Intifada that broke out in 1987 and was forced to flee his town, Palestinian sources in Jenin told The Jerusalem Post. They claimed that the man has since been living in Israel.
Earlier, Ashraf Jabari, a businessman from Hebron, said he has accepted an invitation from the US administration to participate in the conference. Jabari said he will go to Bahrain as the representative of the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce.
Also on Friday, Palestinian Chief Religious Justice Mahmoud Habbash, who also serves as adviser to Abbas, said that Palestinians would rather die than accept being humiliated by Israel and the US.
Referring to the Bahrain conference, Habbash said at a Friday prayer sermon in Ramallah: “It is our duty to confront this conspiracy. We may disagree on many things, but the Palestinians are united in rejecting this disgrace by Israel and the US.”
Habbash claimed that the US was seeking to “bribe” the Palestinians through the Bahrain conference.
“They are talking about billions of dollars to improve the economic conditions of the Palestinian people,” he said. “This is a bribe. They are offering us billions of dollars in return for making Jerusalem Israel’s capital and giving up the right of return for the refugees. They want to turn the Palestinian cause into an issue of a people who just want to live, and not a people seeking dignity or freedom or sovereignty.”
Habbash scoffed at the US administration’s motto of “prosperity to peace” and accused the Americans of treating the Palestinians with contempt.
“Which prosperity are they talking about?” he asked. “This is contempt for peace. This is a mockery of the Palestinian people and their rights. They are ridiculing the blood of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for our cause. We will never betray their blood and sacrifices.”
Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for the PA presidency, again lashed out at the Bahrain conference, dubbing it a “strategic mistake.” He claimed that the conference was aimed at achieving normalization between Israel and the Arab states.
The conference, he said, was in the context of US “provocative steps that will aggravate tensions in the region.”
Meanwhile, Fatah and several Palestinian factions repeated their appeal to Palestinians to stage demonstrations in the West Bank to express their rejection of the Bahrain conference.
The protests will begin on Monday and continue until the end of the conference two days later. The factions urged Palestinians to “escalate confrontations” with the IDF during the mass protests.
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