PLO’s Erekat calls on Iran to act as a ‘responsible state’
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PLO’s Erekat calls on Iran to act as a ‘responsible state’

Palestinian official suggests Ramallah opposes Iran’s intervention in Arab world; says Hamas official has told members of large UN bloc Abbas has no legitimacy

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee, speaking to Palestine TV, the official Palestinian Authority channel, on February 28, 2019. (Screenshot: Palestine TV)
Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee, speaking to Palestine TV, the official Palestinian Authority channel, on February 28, 2019. (Screenshot: Palestine TV)

Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, urged Iran on Wednesday to conduct its affairs responsibly and indicated the Palestinians oppose its intervention in the Arab world.

While many Arab officials frequently comment on Tehran’s Middle East policies, the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership rarely does so.

“We ask Iran to act as a responsible state.” Erekat told Palestine TV, the official Palestinian Authority channel. “It is playing around one time in Bahrain and it is playing around another time in Yemen. It is also playing around in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and here in Gaza.”

Iran supports a number of terror groups including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. It also backs Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

In December 2017, Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri praised Iran for its support for Palestinian terror groups.

Iran “is the only country that is prepared to provide real and public support to the Palestinian resistance and others to confront the [Israeli] entity,” he told the pro-Hamas Al-Quds TV in an interview at the time, employing a term that usually refers to Palestinian terror groups.

Hezbollah supporters shout slogans and wave Lebanese, Hezbollah and Iran flags, during a rally to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, in southern Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, February 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Erekat also said that senior Hamas official Ahmad Bahr recently sent a letter to more than 130 member states of the Group of 77, in which he asserted that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO do not have legitimacy.

Abbas in January assumed the rotating chairmanship of the Group of 77, the largest bloc of countries at the United Nations, on behalf of “the State of Palestine.”

The Group of 77 is a consortium of 134 developing countries that often works together in the UN General Assembly.

Earlier this week, Hamas orchestrated a protest in Gaza calling for Abbas’s ouster, according Fatah officials and an expert on Palestinian politics in the coastal enclave.

Abbas was elected to serve as PA president for four years in 2005.

Palestinian officials, however, have said it is not possible to hold presidential elections as long as the West Bank and Gaza are not under one united government. Hamas has controlled the Strip since it ousted the Fatah-dominated PA in 2007 from the territory.

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