Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets Israeli delegation in Ramallah, May 17, 2016.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, told al-Alam, an Iranian television station, that President Mahmoud Abbas’s meeting with Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, was an insignificant affair.
“The meeting meant nothing to Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas], especially since he is against coups and intervening in domestic affairs,” he said.
Zaki also spoke highly of the history of Iranian-Palestinian relations.
“We and Iran have a deep and pure relationship, one of sacrifice, struggle, and liberation, that seeks to do away with all forms of dictatorship,” he said.
Zaki’s statements come a week after Iran and Fatah exchanged barbs over the Abbas-Rajavi meeting. An Iranian Foreign Ministry official called President Abbas “a CIA collaborator” and Fatah’s Media and Culture Commissariat responded, saying Iran is wreaking havoc in the region.
However, Zaki has previously taken a different, public position than the Palestinian leadership on Iran. For example, at a ceremony in Tehran this past February marking the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Zaki welcomed an Iranian announcement to send funds to families whose children carry out attacks against Israelis.
When the PA learned of Zaki’s statement it immediately issued a response, saying he does not represent the official position of the PLO or PA.
“Abbas Zaki does not represent anyone except for himself.
He doesn’t represent the PLO or the PA in his statements regarding Iranian support for martyrs’ families,” it read.
Following the conclusion of the Iranian nuclear deal signed in June 2015, it appeared that the Palestinian leadership and Iran wanted to improve ties as Abbas sent an emissary, Ahmad Majdalani, to Tehran. Majdalani and his Iranian counterparts discussed preparations for Abbas to visit Tehran and the potential appointment a non-resident Iranian ambassador to the Palestinian territories