Jan 31/09. The Palestinian
Authority accused Iran and Syria of encouraging
Hamas and other
radical groups to establish a new leadership that would challenge the
PLO's claim to be the "sole and legitimate" representative of the
Palestinians. (The PA is an organ of the PLO).
The PA fears that
the potential new leadership, which would be headed by Hamas
chief Khaled Mashaal, would be recognized by several Islamic governments
that are unhappy with President Mahmoud Abbas.
The PA is also
worried because the idea of replacing the PLO is being backed by
prominent Arab political analysts, newspaper editors and even veteran
Fatah leader Farouk Kaddoumi.
A PA official said
the Iranians and Syrians were now openly "conspiring" to undermine the
PA leadership. "They are seeking to take advantage of the increased
sympathy for Hamas
on the Arab street following the Israeli military operation in the Gaza
Strip," the official said. "We see this as a declaration of war on the
legitimate representatives of the Palestinians."
The PA believes that
Qatar is also behind the call to establish a new Palestinian leadership.
A PA official said the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera network had long served
as a platform for Mashaal and Hamas.
He also claimed that the station had been "inciting" against Fatah and
Mahmoud Abbas by depicting them as traitors.