Hamas damaged the position of the PA chairman on Palestinian Street 

Hamas succeeded in damaging the image of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and portraying him as corrupt and the executive contractor of the Israeli security establishment. Recently, Hamas managed to present Mahmoud Abbas and his associate Hussein al-Sheikh as being responsible for the poisoning of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian street tends to accept the version of Hamas.



The position of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on the Palestinian street is very bad, a Palestinian public opinion poll published last week shows that 77 percent of Palestinians demand that Mahmoud Abbas resign immediately. 

The corrupt and dictatorial rule of the PA chairman and his political weakness have a part in the erosion of his position in Palestinian public opinion, but the Hamas movement also has a large part in this, it succeeded through media campaigns in presenting Mahmoud Abbas in the eyes of his people as a collaborator with the US and Israel and as a contractor of the Israeli security establishment. 

Hamas does not intend to stand aside in regards to the succession battle in the Palestinian Authority, it is not ready to abandon the arena to the Fatah leaders who see themselves as the potential successors of Mahmoud Abbas and is working to shake the stability of the Palestinian Authority’s rule in the West Bank in various ways. 

One of the ways that Hamas has recently taken is a continuous campaign in its media and social networks on the subject of Yasser Arafat’s death. 

Hamas was able to understand the importance of Yasser Arafat as the eternal symbol of the Palestinian struggle and succeeded in portraying PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his associates as supposedly responsible for the poisoning of Yasser Arafat and his removal from the Palestinian political scene. 

How was the Hamas campaign carried out? A mysterious group known as the icon of the revolution, which is affiliated with Hamas, revealed through the media and social networks all the protocols of the Palestinian Authority’s investigation committee into the circumstances of Yasser Arafat’s death that was established in 2010, the committee was headed by Fatah senior Tawfiq al-Tirawi who was at the time the head of the Palestinian  intelligence. 

Tawfiq al-Tirawi clashed with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his associate Hussein al-Sheikh over the succession battle and is the main suspect in leaking the protocols to Hamas, these days he is being investigated by the PA’s security forces on suspicion of leaking the protocols and other suspicions of corruption and Fatah officials estimate that he will be expelled from the movement and prosecuted. 

From the protocols of the investigation committee and the testimonies given to it by senior PA officials, it appears that Mahmoud Abbas, who was at odds with Yasser Arafat at the time, worked together with his associates to isolate Yasser Arafat regionally and internationally, he held secret meetings with his associates in Ramallah who also met with then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his son Omri without Yasser Arafat’s knowledge. 

From the investigation, heavy suspicions arose that Mahmoud Abbas did everything to get rid of Yasser Arafat and even disrupted the proceedings of the investigative committee. 

The main suspicion is that it was Yasser Arafat’s dentist named Said Daras Al-Tarifi who poisoned him, Al-Tarifi is the cousin of Hussein al-Sheikh, a close associate of Mahmoud Abbas, and he is the one who assisted in bringing the doctor to the Muqataa in Ramallah during the siege of it with the help of Mahmoud Abbas. 

The doctor mysteriously died shortly after the death of Yasser Arafat and his wife testified before the investigative committee that he had serious problems of conscience and was about to go to the media and confess to poisoning Arafat. 

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his associates deny all the suspicions against them and say that it is a conspiracy concocted by Hamas and Tawfiq al-Tirawi, but it seems that the Palestinian street actually believes the claims of Hamas and not the weak explanations of Mahmoud Abbas and his associates.


Through its campaign, Hamas managed to bring Yasser Arafat back into the Palestinian consciousness and highlight the weakness of Mahmoud Abbas compared to the charisma and successes of Yasser Arafat. 

Senior officials in the Fatah movement also believe that Mahmoud Abbas was indeed involved in the conspiracy  against Yasser Arafat, but they remain silent for fear of being harmed, Mahmoud Abbas fully controls all the institutions of the Fatah movement and all the important appointments. 

The chairman of the Palestinian Authority has a serious image problem on the Palestinian street and he is having a very difficult time freeing himself from the labels that Hamas stuck on him, this is part of the political struggle between Fatah and Hamas and also part of the succession battle, at this stage Hamas has the upper hand. 

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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