In rare act of dissent, Arafat’s nephew resigns from Fatah Central Committee

Fatah vice chairman said Qudwa’s resignation was rejected.

Nasser al-Qudwa  (photo credit: REUTERS/KHALED ABDULLAH)
Nasser al-Qudwa
In a rare act of dissent, Nasser al-Qudwa, a top Fatah official, submitted his resignation from the Fatah Central Committee on Saturday to protest “the results of and events at” a top Palestine Liberation Organization body’s meeting last week.
Qudwa, the nephew of former Palestinian Authority president and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, was first elected to the Fatah Central Committee in 2009. Ramallah-based Fatah officials seldom protest PLO and Fatah decision-making.
“I would like to inform you of my resignation from the Fatah Central Committee to protest some of the results of and events at the 23rd session of the National Council and the work of the Central Committee regarding this meeting,” Qudwa, who previously served as PA foreign minister, wrote in a resignation letter, which the Al-Quds Palestinian newspaper published on Sunday.
The Palestinian National Council, known as the PLO’s parliament, convened last week for a rare four-day meeting to elect members to two top PLO bodies, the Executive Committee and the Central Council last Friday.
In his letter, Qudwa did not explicitly state what about the council meeting or the committee’s work related to it led him to submit his resignation.
In the past several days, however, some Palestinian officials have expressed criticism about the way the National Council voted for the Executive Committee and Central Council.
Nabil Amr, a Fatah and National Council member, expressed disappointment on Sunday that the National Council did not hold elections with ballots.
“What happened was very unfortunate…I feel very sad that our parliament does not recognize the ballot box when all political regimes in the world are based on the ballot box,” Amr told Al-Ghad, an Arabic TV station.
Instead of holding elections with ballots, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad separately read off proposed lists of names for the Executive Committee and Central Council. Then Salim Zanoun, the National Council chairman, asked National Council members to raise their hands if they support them. Almost everyone raised their hands for both lists and Zaanoun declared that a new Executive Committee and Central Council had been approved.
On Monday, Fatah vice chairman Mahmoud al-Aloul announced that Qudwa’s resignation was rejected “following consultations with President Abu Mazen and members of the Fatah Central Committee,” a statement from Aloul’s office said, referring to Abbas using his nickname.
The statement also said that the Fatah Central Committee will study the contents of Qudwa’s resignation letter at its next meeting.
On Sunday evening, Jibril Rajoub, the secretary-general of the Fatah Central Committee, told PA television that he cannot “imagine a Central Committee without Nasser on it.”
Rajoub also said that he and other Fatah members “are understanding of” most of the reasons that Qudwa decided to submit his resignation,” without stating what they specifically include.
On Monday, Qudwa could not be reached for comment.