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PA President Mahmoud Abbas uses new law to withdraw diplomatic passports from opponents

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, West Bank on 6 February 2022 [Palestinian Presidency/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, West Bank on 6 February 2022 [Palestinian Presidency/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, is using a new law to strip his critics of their diplomatic sources, the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news site reported.

The site quoted sources as saying that the latest Palestinian official to lose his diplomatic passport is a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's Executive Committee and its former secretary, Yasser Abed Rabbo, along with his wife, writer Liana Badr.

The sources explained that, about two months ago, Abed Rabbo applied to renew the diplomatic passports of both him and that of his wife; however, his application was refused, upon orders from Abbas.

The sources added that, instead, the couple were given ordinary travel documents.

In the past few weeks, a number of senior and veteran Palestinian officials were informed that their diplomatic passports would not be renewed.

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They include Nasser Al-Kidwa, a former PA Foreign Minister and Envoy to the United Nations, and Bassam Abu Sharif, who served as an adviser and spokesperson to former PLO leader, Yasser Arafat.

Earlier this month, Abbas signed a law that gives him the authority to grant diplomatic passports to anyone he wishes. However, the new law included a vague clause which is likely to have been used against Al-Kidwa, Abed Rabbo and Abu Sharif.

The clause allows Abbas to withdraw the diplomatic passport from anyone who "supports or advocates for an external or internal party against the State of Palestine and its constitutional institutions, or threatens its national interests, its constitutional stability, order and civil peace in it."

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