Arafat’s nephew blasts ‘totalitarian’ Palestinian president

Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: A year after fleeing the West Bank, a nephew of late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat has returned to Gaza and is challenging his uncle’s embattled successor, 86-year-old president Mahmoud Abbas.

Nasser al-Kidwa, 69, a former Palestinian foreign minister, branded Abbas’s Palestinian Authority as "totalitarian," and said it was acting with disregard for the people it is supposed to serve who are living under Israeli occupation. "He does whatever he wants, without any consideration to anything," Kidwa said of Abbas, whose support among Palestinians has plummeted, according to surveys. "Neither the law, nor the institutions, nor traditions, even family traditions".

Kidwa returned to Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip after a year of self-imposed exile in France, and told AFP from the enclave that returning to the occupied West Bank would not be safe. Gaza, the Arafat family’s ancestral home, has been controlled by the Islamist group Hamas since 2007, bitter rivals of Abbas’s secular Fatah movement that Yasser Arafat co-founded in 1959. Abbas’s decision to cancel those polls, which would have been the first Palestinian elections in 15 years, fuelled further charges of authoritarianism.