The Palestinian leadership will no longer work with the United Nation’s peace envoy, a senior official said Thursday, accusing him of overstepping his role by seeking a deal between Israel and terror group Hamas.
Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, said it had informed the UN secretary-general that envoy Nickolay Mladenov was “no longer acceptable” to the Palestinian government.
Mladenov had “gone beyond his role” in seeking agreements between Israel and the PA’s rival Hamas, which controls Gaza, he said, adding that his actions impacted “Palestinian national security and the unity of our people.”
There was no immediate comment from Mladenov or confirmation from the United Nations.
Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, said that the Palestinians’ decision to sever ties with Mladenov would increase their “isolation” worldwide.
“After the Palestinians said ‘No’ to Israel and ‘No’ to the Americans, they’re now saying ‘No’ to the UN as well,” Danon said in a statement, adding that the decision would “continue to lead the Palestinian Authority to international isolation while harming the Palestinians.”
Mladenov, alongside Egypt, has been seeking a long-term truce agreement between Hamas and the Jewish state, without including PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s internationally recognized government in the indirect negotiations.
The talks have stalled, partly due to pressure from Abbas, but on Tuesday a smaller UN-brokered agreement was reached for Qatar to finance much-needed fuel deliveries to Gaza for six months.
Abbas’s Fatah movement and the PA have vehemently opposed any possible ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the terrorist group that rules Gaza. They have demanded reconciliation between the rival Palestinian factions before any ceasefire be reached, and asserted that the PLO is the sole Palestinian party that can negotiate such a deal.
Last Saturday, another high-ranking Fatah official accused Mladenov of working on behalf of US President Donald Trump’s administration and intervening in internal Palestinian affairs.
“He is a servant of the American administration,” Majed Fityani, the secretary-general of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Palestine TV, the official PA channel. “He should… not be intervening in internal affairs. It is not his right or mandate to interfere, but he puts his nose in everything.”
Fityani also contended that Mladenov is no longer an “honest broker” and said the Palestinians consider his work as UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process to be over.
“I believe that Mr. Mladenov is no longer an honest broker in this process,” he said. “As far as we are concerned as Palestinians, Mladenov’s mission has ended. He should spend the rest of his time as the envoy of the UN secretary-general on vacation with his Israeli friends or traveling at the expense of Trump or those who fund this moral and political digression, in which he has drowned.”
Hadashot TV news reported in August that “it appears Mladenov is expected to finish his job” as UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process in the near future.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon, however, said on Sunday in a phone call that he had no idea when Mladenov’s tenure as UN special coordinator would end.
Last month, Azzam al-Ahmad, a Fatah Central Committee member, also lashed out at Mladenov.
“We have expressed criticisms to Mladenov,” he told Palestine TV on September 22. “He has intervened in [matters] outside of the framework of his duties.”
Ahmad also said that he “believes Mladenov has been a supporter of Israel since he was the Bulgarian foreign minister.”
Mladenov served as Bulgarian foreign minister between January 2010 and March 2013.
Mladenov’s office has refused to comment on the remarks by Fityani and Ahmad.