Fatah official: Mahmoud Abbas 'a failed leader'

Ex PA minister says Abbas "incapable of decision-making;" Fatah leadership condemns remarks.

Abbas 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Abbas 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is a failed leader who is incapable of taking the right decision at the right time, a senior Fatah official said over the weekend. Abu Ali Shaheen, a veteran member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council and a former PA minister, accused Abbas and the political leadership of Fatah of abandoning their men during the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip last June. He is the first Fatah official to publicly criticize Abbas following Hamas's violent seizure of the Gaza Strip. His allegations drew strong condemnations from the Fatah leadership in Ramallah. "There's no such thing as a failed soldier," Shaheen said in remarks published by the Al-Arabiya.net Web site. "Abbas and the political leaders of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority were not there when Hamas staged its coup. But this did not prevent them from demanding a military victory from their men." He added: "In this case, we're not only talking about a failed officer, but a failed leader as well. Abbas is lacking the ability to take the appropriate decision at the right historical moment." Shaheen also lashed out at Abbas's closest aides, accusing them of failing to fulfill their duty in giving the PA president good advice in the aftermath of the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip. He pointed out that at the peak of the crisis with Hamas, the Fatah leadership decided to dispatch a high-level delegation to the Gaza Strip, but only one official, Intisar al-Wazir [Um Jihad] arrived there. "She was left alone to handle the crisis and confront Hamas," he said. "It's strange that none of the other Fatah leaders made an effort to go to the Gaza Strip." Shaheen also accused unnamed Fatah leaders of "collusion" with Hamas, noting that most of them had refrained from coming out in public against Hamas. "If some of our leaders are indeed so naive, then they should not be leading us," he added. "Those who fail to see the reality as it is are not worthy of leading. It's time for them to go away. Their continued presence in power is causing tremendous damage." He also attacked Hamas, accusing the Islamist movement of operating on instructions from Teheran. In response to the allegations, Hakam Bala'awi, a senior Fatah leader closely affiliated with Abbas, said Shaheen was an "arrogant" man with a "sick mind." He also dismissed Shaheen's claim that some Fatah leaders were in collusion with Hamas. "Shaheen does not listen to or see anyone but himself," Bala'awi said. "That's why he didn't hear President Abbas's statements about the Hamas coup all these months. The president's statements reflect the views of the entire Fatah leadership."