Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat- At a time while news outlets affiliated with the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements started describing President Mahmud Abbas as “former president”, the Palestinian Authority’s main concern has been to support the Hamas movement in the Palestinian arena as the ongoing bloody war on Gaza continues. This concern, along with the scenes of Palestinian security forces attacking protestors to prevent them from clashing with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank puts the Palestinian Authority in a suspect position in front of the people, even though it keeps marketing logical reasons for its actions.
“Even the Fatah movement has expressed anger at the suppression of protests while Gaza is suffering from such attacks. Many Palestinians who spoke to Asharq al-Awsat, including many members in Fatah and the security forces, believe that the PA’s handling of the crisis was poor and detrimental to Abbas’s chances of remaining in office either through extending his term or getting re-elected.
The Palestinians have not forgotten the fact that President Abbas’s term ended three days ago, even though the aggression on Gaza is a much more dominant and pressing theme. In a mini-market in the West Bank, a number of people were watching Abbas’s statement in Cairo on the television. The reaction was not positive. One of them said that the final say is now in the hands of Hamas and Israel, as for the PA, it is helpless as no one cares about what it says. He added angrily: “they suppressed the protests and that was extremely odd, as if what is going on in Gaza is happening in another country”.
“But another participant added: “But Hamas is saying that Abbas’s term is over”. Regardless of how the discussion ended, it revealed that the Palestinians are not pleased with how the PA is handling the Gaza crisis. Ibrahime Abrash, a former minister of culture and a political analyst, stated to Asharq al-Awsat that the PA under Abbas “lacks leadership”. He added: “there was no leadership whatsoever throughout the aggression. They act in the same manner as other Arab countries and they even use the same oppressive methods to suppress the protests”. Al-Abrash believes that this will have a negative effect on any future elections because the Palestinians are convinced that the PA has entered a tunnel that it can not leave, because it does not want to change its skin.
“One of the members of the security forces, who refused to reveal his name, expressed his anger at the orders that they are getting to prevent the protestors from clashing with the Israelis. He added, “Why? Are we working for the Jews?”
Others said that they are in favor of the idea of holding presidential and legislative elections after the war so that they can express their opinion in all circles. Riyad Nasser an engineer in Ramallah added, “I’m currently not concerned weather or not the president extends his mandate, what is important is that we move towards national unity and a consensus regarding a unified political program and then search for new leadership, however today, I would not vote for the current leadership”.