Abbas sacks Nablus governor, reportedly over public criticism
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Abbas sacks Nablus governor, reportedly over public criticism

Some Palestinian outlets also speculate that Akram Rajoub was fired for walking out of Samaritan Passover Seder after settlers arrived

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

Akram Rajoub, who said on April 26, 2016, that he had been fired from the post of governor of Nablus by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.  (Screenshot: YouTube)
Akram Rajoub, who said on April 26, 2016, that he had been fired from the post of governor of Nablus by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Screenshot: YouTube)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas unexpectedly dismissed Nablus governor Akram Rajoub, local media and Rajoub said, a move that was attributed by some Palestinian outlets as a response to public criticism of the PA.

“Without warning, the president ordered the sword to my neck, and now I must leave Nablus, which I have served faithfully,” Rajoub wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.

The governor expressed surprise at his dismissal, claiming in his post that he has never stolen from the Palestinian people nor taken advantage of his position of power.

But “informed” sources told the Palestinian news website Donia Al-Watan that one of the reasons for the dismissal was Rajoub’s criticism on social media of the PA leadership’s policies.

The governor also hinted that he was being punished for taking a political stance.

“My positions and my principles cannot be bargained over, and I will not retract any national or political positions I have taken,” he wrote on Facebook.

The Donia Al-Watan report noted, however, that other Palestinian media outlets have speculated Rajoub was punished for snubbing the ancient Samaritan community that lives on Mount Gerizim, on the southern outskirts of Nablus, by abruptly leaving their Passover Seder service last Friday night due to the arrival of Israeli settlers.

Samaritan priests insert their skewered Passover sacrifices into an underground oven during the ritual of sacrifice, part of a Samaritan Passover ceremony, on Mount Grizim, near the West Bank town of Nablus, April 20, 2016. (Yaniv Nadav/FLASH90)
Samaritan priests insert their skewered Passover sacrifices into an underground oven during the ritual of sacrifice, part of a Samaritan Passover ceremony, on Mount Grizim, near the West Bank town of Nablus, April 20, 2016. (Yaniv Nadav/FLASH90)

Rajoub told Palestinian news agency Ma’an that he left the Seder because the Jewish settlers’ presence was “illegal and unacceptable.”

Earlier in April, in a move seen as power play by the Palestinian leader, Abbas froze the transfer of state funds to the second and third biggest parties in PLO, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), respectively. The freezing of funds for the two parties came after both strongly criticized Abbas for supporting security coordination between Israel and the PA.

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