Palestinian Elite Guard Tries To Defuse Violent Feud

Top Fatah Officials Face Off in Ramallah

Feuding Fatah: Palestinian and visiting Chinese dignitaries lay wreath at memorial to late leader Yasser Arafat. A simmering feud among top Fatah officials erupted during the visit, forcing the elite presidential guard to intervene.
getty images
Feuding Fatah: Palestinian and visiting Chinese dignitaries lay wreath at memorial to late leader Yasser Arafat. A simmering feud among top Fatah officials erupted during the visit, forcing the elite presidential guard to intervene.

By Reuters

Published December 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’s elite guard unit surrounded parliament in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday to protect a legislator from being attacked by another senior official, witnesses said.

The incident was one of the most public confrontations between senior members of the Fatah party led by Abbas in years, and may deepen concerns over stability as Palestinians engage in peace talks with Israel for a state.

Around the same time, unknown gunmen opened fire on the offices of the Palestinian minister for Islamic endowments, said officials. It was not clear if the incidents were related.

Jamal Abu al-Rab, a parliamentarian, and Jibril Rajoub, a top Fatah official and a former major general in the security forces, were among VIPs at a Ramallah hotel, welcoming Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on a visit.

Abu al-Rab - a former militant leader from the Fatah-aligned al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the city of Jenin, widely known by the nom de guerre “Hitler” - slapped Rajoub in the face, witnesses said.

Al-Rab then fled and Rajoub summoned his armed guards to pursue him, said witnesses. Al-Rab sought refuge in the parliament building and Abbas’s forces formed a cordon around it, sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Both men travel with well-armed entourages.

It is not clear what provoked the blow or the armed assault on the minister’s office. A spokesman for the Palestinian security forces told Reuters it was investigating the incidents.

As officials in the West Bank have largely forsworn violence against Israel in recent decades, many former militant and activist leaders have had to adjust to civilian politics. But old rivalries are often maintained in their new roles.

Palestinians have lacked an elected government since Abbas’s Fatah party and the Islamist Hamas group fought a brief, bloody civil war in 2007 when Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip after a surprise win in legislative polls the previous year.

As prospects for a peace deal remain dim and economic hardships bite, many Palestinians have accused officials of corruption and infighting.

More than half of Palestinians said their government was a “burden on the Palestinian people,” in a June poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. In the same survey, 77 percent of respondents believed there was corruption by officials in the West Bank, where Fatah holds sway, and 61 percent in the Gaza government, run by Hamas.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.