JERUSALEM – A popular Palestinian militant broke with the party that controls the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday night, intensifying the power struggle and diminishing the party’s hopes of retaining its monopoly in parliamentary elections.
The 61-year-old activist Marwan Barghouti has long been a respected figure in Fatah, the secular party that administers the Palestinian Authority. Co-founded by Yasir Arafat. Although Mr. Barghouti was sentenced to life imprisonment on five counts of murder in Israeli prisons, he has won considerable respect among many political party officials and is considered a potential candidate for the president of Palestine in the future.
Mr. Barguti’s faction joined forces with another long-time Palestinian political protagonist, Nasser al-Kidwa, who is Mr. Arafat’s nephew and former Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, who split from Fatah this year .
Analysts believe that their alliance may split Fatah’s votes, may become a saboteur, and may benefit Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls the Gaza Strip.
“This is a huge and significant development,” said Ghaith al-Omari, a former adviser to Abbas and a senior analyst at the Washington Research Group Washington East for East Policy. “This is a huge challenge to Abbas’s election strategy and even to his control of Fatah.”
Mr. Abbas, who has led the Palestinian Authority for 16 years, called for new elections in January to re-establish its democratic legitimacy and rebuild a unified Palestinian government. The authorities manage parts of the occupied West Bank, while Hamas manages the Gaza Strip.
Since 2006, the agency has not held elections for the Palestinian Legislative Committee of its parliament. Mr. Abbas has repeatedly postponed, at least in part because he fears losing to Hamas, which regained control of the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian Authority under Fatah in 2007.
Mr. Abbas hopes that the new elections will eventually lead to reconciliation with Hamas. On the contrary, they exposed the major power struggle within Fatah himself.
Mr. al-Omari said: “This is one of Fatah’s most important political developments since Abbas became president in 2005.” Baltati and Kidwa are a combination that Fatah’s leadership cannot ignore. They have a very deep legitimacy reserve in the party, which poses a major challenge to Abbas’s ruling position in the party. “
Before withdrawing and supporting Abbas, Mr. Barghouti ran for president of the Palestinian Authority in 2004. He was the leader of the Palestinian uprising in the late 1980s and early 2000s and was convicted in 2004 for participating in the killing of 5 Israelis.
He was sentenced to five life imprisonment and ran for public office from his cell.
Fatah’s supporters will now be forced to choose among the three factions linked to Fatah: the official party, the Barguti-Kidwa Alliance, and the third party led by the exiled former security chief Mohammed Dharran. Three split groups.
The members of Mr. Barguti’s coalition stated that they have created a new faction to revitalize Palestinian politics. This faction is increasingly becoming a single-player performance centered on Abbas. Abbas has ruled more than a dozen by decree. year.
The new coalition member Hani al-Masri said at a news conference on Wednesday night: “The Palestinian political system is no longer limited to reforms.” “It needs profound changes.”
A Fatah official called the organization “reflective clothing.”
The Secretary-General of the Fatah Central Committee, Jibil Rajoub, said at a press conference outside Ramallah in the West Bank: “Even our Prophet Mohammed, there are strippers.” Tahe is strong and united.”
Mr. Abbas has canceled elections in the past, and some believe that he may cancel elections again in the coming weeks.
But for now, the abolition of posts is “politically very expensive,” said Ghassan Khatib, a Ramallah-based political analyst and former minister led by Abbas. “For this, there is a high political price.”
Khatib said that Abbas’s greatest hope is for the Israeli authorities to intervene in the election. Hamas has accused Israel of arresting some leaders and warned them not to participate in elections that Israel denies. Palestinian officials said that the Israeli government has not yet responded to a request for permission to vote in East Jerusalem.
This dynamic may give Mr. Abbas an excuse to cancel the vote.
Khatib said that Abbas “needs an excuse to prove that this decision is correct.”