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!
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • 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.