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Fatah Picks Deputy Leader to Mahmoud Abbas | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Participants in the Fatah congress in Ramallah clap and cheer before a speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Reuters

Ramallah-Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement has chosen Mahmoud al-Aloul as deputy party leader.

Aloul is a member of the central committee of Fatah, which approved the decision amid criticism by supporters of Prisoner Marwan Barghouti, who was anticipating his appointment, especially after he got a boost at the Fatah congress vote two months ago.

Aloul, 67, said his appointment will last for one year only. He comes from Nablus and is one of the prominent Fatah leaders who worked with Yasser Arafat and Abu Jihad, assassinated by Israel in Tunisia in 1988.

Abbas appointed Aloul due to continuous pressure to choose a deputy leader for the movement – Abbas has been carrying out several steps to ensure a smooth transition of power.

Following the appointing, Barghouti’s wife Fadwa, wrote on Facebook: “The central committee appears to insist on excluding Marwan.”

She went on to accuse the committee of bowing to the threats of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Marwan has always been here,” she asserted, “standing against the Israeli occupation.”

Fadwa stated that Fatah is fully aware of Marwan’s position and for that it hangs his posters during university, local and national elections. According to her, Israel is also aware of his stance and that is why he got arrested.

“Marwan gained legitimacy from his devotion,” she added, demanding a review of the central committee’s decision.

Barghouthi’s supporters assume that choosing him for the post of deputy leader would have upped the pressure on Israel to release him.

His name was proposed during the central committee discussions but some members expressed reservations for several reasons.