Amid mounting tensions between the two parties, the Palestinian ruling Fatah faction has demanded that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) apologize for its recent attacks on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Earlier this week PFLP officials accused Abbas of “political blackmail” and “piracy” for withholding funds for their organization. Palestinian sources told The Jerusalem Post that the PFLP was facing a sharp financial crisis as the result of suspension of the funds. According to the sources, the terrorist group is on the brink of bankruptcy and its debts are estimated at more than $3 million.In the past few months, Israeli authorities arrested dozens of PFLP officials and members on suspicion of involvement in terrorism, a move that has further intensified the organization's crisis. The PFLP, a Marxist organization founded in 1967 by George Habash, is the second largest group forming the PLO. Fatah, which is headed by Abbas, is the largest faction. Like many PLO institutions, Fatah and the PFLP receive monthly stipends from the Palestinian National Fund, established in 1964 to finance the activities of the PLO.Several PFLP officials have been quoted as saying that Abbas ordered the Palestinian National Fund to cut funding to the PFLP more than two years ago. The officials accused Abbas of “piracy” and “political blackmail” and claimed he was using the financial sanctions to force the PFLP to change its policies. The PFLP, which opposed the Oslo Accords that were signed between the PLO and Israel in 1993, is strongly opposed to peace negotiations or any contacts with Israelis. The unprecedented attacks on Abbas drew sharp criticism from Fatah, which accused the PFLP of “violating the values of the [Palestinian] national relations.” Fatah “affirms its rejection and condemnation of the campaign waged by the leaders of the PFLP,” the faction said in a statement. “This campaign coincides with the systematic and organized campaign against the president by parties that are hostile to the Palestinian people and the PLO, especially the racist Israeli occupation authorities.”Fatah said it was particularly outraged by language the PFLP officials used to denounce Abbas, including the terms “political blackmail,” “piracy” and “oppression.” Abbas and other Palestinian officials often use these terms to condemn Israel’s measures, including the withholding of tax revenues collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinians. “While we are facing a new colonial scheme to annex large parts of our occupied land, and while we are working to protect our people from the coronavirus pandemic, senior PFLP officials are insisting on diverting our attention from our major battle with the occupation,” the Fatah statement said.Fatah pointed out that the PFLP, together with Hamas, refused during a meeting of Palestinian factions in Moscow last year to support a communique stating that the PLO is the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”In 1974, the Arab League recognized the PLO as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” and granted it full membership. In 1993, the US and Israel also recognized the PLO as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” – a recognition that was the basis for the signing of the Oslo Accords.PFLP officials believe that Abbas’s decision to cut PLO funding to their organization aims to punish it for refusing to recognize the PLO’s status.“Is it permissible for anyone who refused to acknowledge the PLO to demand a share of the money of the Palestinian people and its Palestinian National Fund?” the Fatah statement asked. “We have fought and made great sacrifices to have the PLO recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The PFLP should apologize for this campaign.”Nidal Abed Elal, a senior PFLP official, said in response to the Fatah accusations that his organization was being punished because of its rejection of security coordination between the Palestinian security forces and Israel. Abed Elal said that Abbas was also punishing the PFLP because of its rejection of the dispute between Fatah and Hamas.