Saeb Erekat, head of the PLO’s negotiating team, was today officially appointed as secretary general of the group’s executive committee. Erekat’s appointment comes after his predecessor, Yasser Abed Rabbo was fired. In recent days Abed Rabbo said the decision to fire him was done behind his back, without a vote in the PLO’s executive committee and without prior warning. Abed Rabbo added that his termination reflected the way the PLO has been operating over the past few years.
Erekat did not comment on Abed Rabbo’s statements.
Abed Rabbo was fired after a long period of tension with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who himself served himself as secretary general of the PLO’s executive committee when Yasser Arafat was PA president. Abed Rabbo was removed following allegations that he teamed up with former PA prime minister Salam Fayyad and with disgraced PLO official Muhammad Dahlan. Abbas suspected that the three conspired to weaken his standing within the PA political apparatus as part of a plan to have Dahlan take over in the future. Dahlan was expelled from the West Bank several years ago.
Several months ago the PA froze a fund opened by Fayyad. Among the donors were people in the United Arab Emirates, where Dahlan currently resides.
— Avi Issacharoff