Palestinians reject report Abbas was KGB agent as 'smear campaign'

Abbas spokesman claims reported findings are part of Israeli attempt to thwart a Russian-proposed meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian leaders denied on Thursday a Channel 1 report that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas worked as an agent for the Soviet Union in the early 1980s.
The report that aired Wednesday “is complete slander and untrue,” Muhammed al-Madani, a Fatah Central Committee member, told The Jerusalem Post.
“Frankly, it’s shameful for such falsities to be published. The PLO has political relations with Russia, which started when president Arafat met with the leader of the USSR in 1969,” said Madani, who also serves as chairman of a committee in charge of outreach to Israeli society.
Nabil Abu Rudeinah, the official spokesman of the Palestinian presidency, told Agence France-Presse that the report “falls under the framework of Israeli absurdities,” saying that it is a part of a “smear campaign.”
Abu Rudeinah added that he thinks the report is a protest against the strong Palestinian-Russian relationship.
“It is clear that Israel is troubled by the Palestinians’ strategic relationship with Russia and by the clear and announced Russian position, which is to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of an independent Palestinian state and the right of self-determination,” Abbas’s spokesman said.
Yousif Mahmoud, the spokesman of the PA government, said the report is part of a defamation campaign against Abbas. “The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is simultaneously leading a campaign against Mahmoud Abbas and [against] our people to extricate himself from the peace process and flee from international initiatives,” Mahmoud told Wafa, the official PA news site.
Other Palestinian leaders also denounced the report, including Fatah Central Committee members Jibril Rajoub and Hussein Sheikh in phone calls with Israeli radio.
Rajoub laughed at the report and said, “It is not even worthy of a response,” before calling it “nonsense.”
Sheikh said that the report is “a part of the war against President Abbas,” and added that he is “positive” that it is false.
Russia has led a recent attempt to bring Abbas and Netanyahu together in Moscow. Abbas and Netanyahu both said on Thursday they would attend a meeting in the city, according to Interfax, a Russian news agency, but it is not clear when that will happen.