Yasser Abed Rabbo.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas fired PLO Secretary- General Yasser Abed Rabbo on suspicion he was part of a “conspiracy” to undermine the PA leadership.
The dismissal on Tuesday night of Abed Rabbo, a veteran member of the PLO Executive Committee and a PA former information minister, is seen in the context of a behind-thescenes battle of succession among the top brass of the PA leadership.
Abed Rabbo, born in 1944, is one of several officials who see themselves as potential successors to the 80-year-old Abbas.
The decision to dismiss Abed Rabbo was taken during a meeting of PLO leaders in Ramallah late on Tuesday night, a Palestinian official confirmed. The proposal to fire Abed Rabbo was made by Abbas and approved by an overwhelming majority of the PLO leaders, he said.
Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said the leaders voted in favor of removing Abed Rabbo from his post. He added that Abbas would temporarily replace Abed Rabbo in his job as PLO secretary-general.
Abed Rabbo was fired one week after the PA leadership decided to freeze the bank account of Future For Palestine, a nonprofit group belonging to former prime minister Salam Fayyad. Abbad Rabbo, along with Hanan Ashrawi, was one of the founders of the Third Way party that Fayyad led.
The PA has accused Fayyad of money laundering after he reportedly received a sum of $10 million from the United Arab Emirates.
Sources close to Abbas said last week that the PA leadership believes that the funds came from ousted Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan, who is based in the UAE. Dahlan is a bitter political rival of Abbas.
Abbas previously accused Dahlan of conspiring to topple his regime. He has also ordered the arrest of several of Dahlan’s supporters in the West Bank.
In addition, Abbas has accused Dahlan of financial corruption and murder – charges that the ousted Fatah leader has vehemently denied.
Abbas is convinced that the three officials – Abed Rabbo, Dahlan and Fayyad – have joined forces to undermine his authority.
Abed Rabbo said in response that he learned of the decision to fire him from the media. He said he has no idea why Abbas decided to sack him. “President Abbas does not have the authority to fire me,” Abed Rabbo said. “The only party that is authorized to do so is the PLO Executive Committee, which has to hold a general meeting, after which the decision would be made public.”