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Abbas – Fayyad meeting clears the air – Palestinian source | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat – Contrary to what was expected, the meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad earlier this week took place in a positive and friendly atmosphere, dashing the hopes of many Palestinian officials, including from within the Fatah movement itself, that Abbas would move against or even dismiss Fayyad.

A Palestinian source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that this “positive” meeting lasted 3 hours, however the major issue that was expected to be brought up was not discussed, namely Fayyad’s last minute refusal to head the delegation that met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, delivering Abbas’s letter to the Israeli leader regarding the Palestinian view on the concept of a just peace and how to resume negotiation.

The source revealed that this meeting instead focused on the general situation, in all its dimensions, as well as the issues that require monitoring and the steps that must be taken in the short-term. The issue of the Palestinian government and the cabinet reshuffle was also discussed. The well-informed source also told Asharq Al-Awsat that the meeting outcome had disappointed many Palestinian officials within the Palestinian Authority, particularly within the Fatah movement, who expected the Palestinian president to blast his prime minister for refusing to deliver his message to the Israelis. The source claimed that many believes that “Abbas is angry with him [Fayyad], and will not forgive him for this mistake.”

The source added that many people who attended the meeting were waiting for Abbas to “at least, express his anger at Fayyad, if not dismiss him, for refusing his orders…particularly as the [Palestinian] president had announced the make-up of this delegation to the media himself.” Abbas had informed the press that this delegation – which met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week – would be led by Salam Fayyad, and include Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and former Palestinian Minister of Culture and Information Yasser Abed Rabbo. However Abed Rabbo also lately pulled out of the meeting with Netanyahu, which was viewed as a signal of defiance against Abbas. Eventually, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and head of intelligence Majed Faraj were the ones to eventually hand Netanyahu the letter.

The source, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, claimed that Abbas did not discuss the delegation or raise the issue of Fayyad’s failure to deliver the letter to Netanyahu during the meeting, but rather that Fayyad himself raised this issue towards the end of the meeting in order to clear the air, and this topic was discussed in a marginal and transient manner, and dealt with as quickly as possible. Sources from both sides stressed that Abbas did not pay this issue any attention.