Abbas Fayad 248.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Palestinian Authority security forces here have launched an investigation to determine who is behind leaflets that were distributed over the weekend and which describe PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad and his cabinet ministers as "traitors."
Meanwhile, PA officials confirmed that Hamas and Fatah representatives were scheduled to meet in Cairo soon for talks on ways of ending their differences. They said Egypt and Saudi Arabia had been exerting heavy pressure on the two parties to resume their talks to achieve "national unity." The leaflets were signed by Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, whose members have since distanced themselves from them.
Many of the leaflets, which were distributed on the streets of several West Bank cities, were collected by Palestinian policemen loyal to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Despite the fact that the Aksa Martyrs Brigades denied any connection to the leaflets, PA officials here told The Jerusalem Post that they have no doubt that some members of the group were behind the latest threat.
The officials added that they also did not rule out the possibility that top Fatah operatives who were strongly opposed to Fayad's government and Abbas's policies were also linked to the leaflets.
The threats against Fayad have prompted the PA to beef up security around him and other senior members of his cabinet. "We are taking these threats very seriously," a PA security official told the Post. "We have launched an investigation and soon we will discover who's behind the leaflets."
The leaflets accused the Fayad government of collaboration with the Israelis and Americans against armed Palestinian groups that are operating against Israel. They also lashed out at Fayad for allegedly ordering the PA security forces to use force to disperse demonstrations in protest against last week's peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland.
One Palestinian was killed and dozens wounded in clashes between PA security forces and anti-Annapolis protesters in the West Bank last week. The PA's use of excessive force against the demonstrators, especially in Hebron, has drawn sharp criticism from Palestinian human rights organizations and political figures.
The leaflets compared Fayad and his interior minister, Abdel Razak Yahya, to Benito Mussolino, the fascist dictator of Italy. "Shame on this American-Zionist government," they read. "They are implementing an American-Israeli agenda to thwart the operations of the resistance groups. They are part of a big conspiracy designed to force our people to surrender."
The leaflets coincide with growing pressure on Abbas to either replace Fayad or reshuffle his cabinet.
Abdallah Abdallah, a Fatah legislator, said Abbas will soon decide whether to reshuffle the cabinet or not. He noted that Fayad's government was a caretaker government that can't remain in power forever. He also confirmed that Abbas was under pressure from many Fatah leaders to form a new government.
Moreover, two key Fatah operatives, Jibril Rajoub and Hatem Abdel Kader, have gone on the record to criticize Abbas for agreeing to participate in the Annapolis conference, which they termed a "failed festival."
Abbas, who still hasn't returned to Ramallah after the Annapolis conference, is expected to meet with senior Fatah officials later this week to discuss their demands regarding the Fayad government.
Some of the officials, including a number of Abbas's closest aides, have expressed concern over Fayad's growing influence and the possibility that he might challenge Abbas's authority. Fayad has also come under fire for refusing to channel funds to many Fatah supporters.
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