Palestinian academics, activists and political factions have called for the removal from office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, citing his cancelling of the Palestinian elections and a perceived failure to support the people Gaza during the recent Israeli attacks.
Parliamentary and presidential elections were due to take place on 22 May and 31 July, but Abbas cancelled them, saying that they could not be held unless voting in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem was guaranteed.
“The recent intifada of Jerusalem has revealed the resounding incompetence of the president, his policies and his authority, and the Palestinian people have had enough,” a group of academics and activists said in a statement over the weekend.
The cancellation angered many Palestinians, who held protests demanding that the vote go ahead.
No Palestinian elections have been held since 2006.
Abbas faced further criticism following Israel’s recent 11-day assault on the Gaza Strip, which killed 254 Palestinians including 66 children.
The 85-year-old president’s opponents have accused him of failing to show “moral solidarity with the suffering of the Palestinian people” during the Israeli attacks.
They were also angered by recent meetings between Abbas and American officials, which they viewed as a US attempt to “restore Abbas’s legitimacy”.
In their statement, the group of academics and activists accused the Palestinian president of transforming the Palestinian Authority into a “dictatorial institution ruled by one individual”.
“We call on our Palestinian people to join this call, and to start a new page based on the unity of the struggle, the unity of the people, and the unity of the land,” the group added.
“We declare that this president no longer has any political or national legitimacy; he must resign immediately, or be removed from the three leadership positions he controls,” they said.
Mahmoud Abbas was elected President of the Palestinian Authority in 2005. His term ended in 2009, but he used a conflict with Hamas, which took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, as a pretext to defer holding parliamentary and presidential elections.