PROFESSOR ABDEL AL-SATTAR QASSEM.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A Palestinian professor and political analyst sparked controversy over the weekend when he argued that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas should be executed for violating Fatah's constitution.
Speaking on Palestinian TV on Friday, Abdel Sattar Qassem claimed that "Abu Mazen [Abbas] violates the Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code issued by the PLO in 1979 and the constitution of the Palestinian Authority." According to Qassem, the Palestinian constitution states that the President of the Palestinian Authority is elected for a four-year term, while Abbas has already served 11 years with no elections. In addition, he claimed that the PLO Penal Code states that any PLO member who implements a policy of rapprochement with Israel or assistance to the Israeli occupation is to be executed.
Qassem's remarks against Abbas aroused furious responses from the Palestinian authority. Palestinian Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs, Youssef Ideiss, spoke on Palestinian TV after Qassem, claiming that Qassem's remarks, inciting to kill the Palestinian Authority president, might bring about a civil war.
Hamas and the Islamic Jihad hurried to side with the Palestinian professor by releasing press statements that condemned the "incitement campaign of Fatah" against Qassem. Hamas argued that "Fatah's campaign is an attempt to silence any criticism about the Palestinian Authority and its leadership, especially regarding the security coordination with Israel."
Qassem is a professor of Political Science and Palestinian Studies at al-Najah National University in Nablus. He was a prominent opponent of the Oslo Accords and in his writing, he criticizes the Palestinian Authority for its security coordination with Israel, calling it "the great betrayal."