Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree removing 8 of his 16 regional governors from their posts, the P.A.’s Wafa news agency reported on Thursday.
In Judea and Samaria, Abbas ordered the forced retirement of the heads of the P.A.’s governorates of Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilya, Tulkarm, Bethlehem, Hebron, Tubas and Jericho (the latter includes a large section of the Jordan Valley).
In the Gaza Strip, which has been ruled by the Hamas terrorist organization since 2007, Abbas fired the P.A. representatives for North Gaza, Gaza City, Khan Younis and Rafah.
Only the governors of Jerusalem, Salfit and Ramallah/al-Bireh remain in their posts. The governor of Deir el-Balah in Gaza, Abdullah Abu Samhadana, died in 2020, and Abbas has yet to appoint a successor.
Wafa cited no reason given for the overhaul. The report claimed Abbas ordered the creation of a committee, consisting of “leading figures,” that would advise and present him with candidates to fill the vacant positions.
Abbas’s own status within his Fatah faction is shaky due to his age and poor health, and the lack of change in relations between the P.A. and Israel, creating a very real risk of a loss of further control in other Palestinian-governed cities across Judea and Samaria, counterterrorism expert Professor Boaz Ganor told JNS last month.
Recent polling shows that the 87-year-old Abbas is deeply unpopular among the Palestinian public, who increasingly support opposition armed terrorist groups. In Jenin specifically, at least 45% of residents are believed to be affiliated with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
On July 12, Abbas paid a rare visit to Jenin, a week after the Israel Defense Forces concluded a major counterterrorism operation in the northern Samaria city. The visit marked Abbas’s second official trip to Jenin since being elected P.A. chairman 18 years ago.