More powerful ‘than Arafat’: Abbas pardons official suspected of embezzling millions

Special to

RAMALLAH — Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has cleared
a senior ex-commander of charges of corruption.

Palestinian sources said Abbas has essentially pardoned former Gaza
Strip police chief Brig. Gen. Ghazi Jabali.

Brig. Gen. Ghazi Jabali.  /AP/Adel Hana
Brig. Gen. Ghazi Jabali. /AP/Adel Hana

In 2007, Jabali fled the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip and later re-settled in Jordan under suspicion of stealing millions of dollars from the PA.

A leading member of the ruling Fatah movement said Abbas’ protection of Jabali reflected the chairman’s growing powers. Sufian Abu Zeida, a former PA negotiator, said Abbas has paralyzed the Palestinian Legislative Council and was now drafting his own laws.

“No one dreamed that we would reach a situation where all the powers and top positions would be concentrated in the hands of one man,” Abu Zeida said. “Today, Abbas even has more powers than [the late PA Chairman Yasser] Arafat.”

“A few weeks ago, Palestinians were surprised to see Jabali staying at a
luxurious hotel in Ramallah,” Khaled Abu Toameh, a leading analyst on the
PA, said. “It transpired that Jabali was able to return to the West Bank
after receiving a written document from Abbas clearing him of any

Abu Toameh, a researcher for the Gatestone Institute, said Jabali has
been wanted for several years by the PA on charges of corruption and theft.
At one point, the PA appealed to Interpol to issue a warrant for Jabali’s
arrest in Jordan.

Palestinians contrast Abbas’ treatment of Jabali with that of another
former PA security chief, Mohammed Dahlan. In 2011, PA security forces,
directed by Abbas, drove Dahlan out of the West Bank. Unlike Jabali, Dahlan
was a critic of Abbas and his policy.

In an analysis for Gatestone, Abu Toameh said the United States was
dealing solely with Abbas in peace efforts with Israel. Abu Toameh said
Abbas has kept Fatah and most PA officials in the dark regarding the recent
visits of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“Abbas is surrounded by three or four people who are making important
decisions on behalf of all Palestinians, noted another Palestinian official
in the West Bank,” the analysis said. “These are the only people he consults
with. Most PLO and Fatah leaders have no idea about Abbas’s strategy.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login