In a surprising and sudden move, Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority (PA), signed an executive order to fire all of his advisers, effective immediately.
Abbas fired all of his advisers, on all levels and in every field of expertise.
Among those fired are Mahmoud Al-Habash, advisor on religion, Majdi Al-Haldi adviser on foreign affairs, Ali Mahana, legislative adviser and Mamoun Swidan, adviser on sport and youth.
The order includes even those closest to Abbas – Haj Ismail Jabber, the commander of the PA’s National Security Force and adviser on security, and his personal assistant, Ahmed Abed Rahman.
The executive order also forced former ministers of the PA to return any funds they’d illegally obtained, referring to their illegal salary raise in May.
The ministers gave themselves a $2,000 raise while the average wage in the Palestinian Authority totaled just $20 a day. Leaked documents obtained by TPS showed that the pay hike was not confirmed by the relevant authorities, and was therefore illegal.
Likewise, the PA knew about a corruption scandal and terror funding operation involving Mahmoud Al-Habash and the various government officials, but failed to act against them.
A source at the PA said the former ministers are being forced to pay back all of the funds in one payment, and the demand has caused grievances among the officials.
The statement to the press was sent out as Abbas was meeting with some of the advisers and ministers. A Palestinian Authority source said the advisers found out about the move from text messages as they were sitting with Abbas at the table, and were shocked by the news.
A Fatah source said that Abbas’ office has been surrounded with armed guards and that several arrests have been made in connection with corruption charges.
An official source at the PA told TPS that the decision is causing a lot of tension in the ranks, as it might hint at significant changes to the future government leadership.