Aide to PA’s Erekat ‘suspected of spying for Israel’

Aide to PA’s Erekat ‘suspected of spying for Israel’

Palestinian media says man worked for top official for 20 years, confessed upon his arrest 2 weeks ago

PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat in his Ramallah office, November 23, 2015. (AFP/Abbas Momani)
PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat in his Ramallah office, November 23, 2015. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

A long-time aide to top Palestinian official Saeb Erekat was arrested recently over suspicions that he spied for Israel, according to Palestinian media reports Saturday.

The reports said the unnamed man had worked for Erekat for 20 years. He was reportedly arrested earlier this month and confessed to the charges. He is currently being held by Palestinian security forces.

Channel 10 news reported that Erekat had confirmed the man’s arrest.

Erekat is the Palestinians’ former top peace negotiator. He is seen as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s closest aide and favored successor upon the end of his tenure, having displayed unwavering loyalty to the Palestinian leader.

Late last year, Abbas appointed Erekat, 60, as secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the same position Abbas once used as a springboard for becoming the main candidate in presidential elections following the death of Yasser Arafat in November 2004.

But Erekat is seen by some in Fatah as an outsider, and polls indicate he would do poorly in elections for president of the Palestinian Authority.

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