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September 27, 2022 9:13 am

After Exile in France, Arafat’s Nephew Returns to Gaza

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avatar by i24 News

PA President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting in Ramallah, in the West Bank August 18, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman/Pool

i24 NewsA year after fleeing the West Bank, a nephew of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat returned to Gaza and is challenging his uncle’s successor, the 86-year-old President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas.

Nasser al-Kidwa, 69, a former Palestinian foreign minister, branded Abbas’s PA as “totalitarian,” and said it was acting with disregard for the people it is supposed to be serving.

“He does whatever he wants, without any consideration for anything,” Kidwa said of Abbas. “Neither the law, nor the institutions, nor traditions, even family traditions.”

Returning after a year of self-imposed exile in France, Kidwa told journalists that traveling to the West Bank at this time would not be safe. According to surveys, his support among Palestinians is negligible.

Gaza, the Arafat family’s ancestral home, has been controlled by the Islamist group Hamas since 2007, and is a bitter rival of Abbas’s secular Fatah movement that Yasser Arafat co-founded in 1959.

Kidwa was cast out of Fatah last year after trying to form a candidates list to challenge Abbas loyalists in the Palestinian legislative polls scheduled for May 2021.

Abbas’s decision to cancel that vote, which would have been the first Palestinian elections in 15 years, gave rise to further charges of authoritarianism.

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