Was There an Assassination Attempt against Mahmoud Abbas? – FACT CHECK

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Editors

In this report, the Palestine Chronicle attempts to answer the question regarding the authenticity of reports on an ‘assassination attempt’ targeting Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. 

Since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza on October 7, the armed rebellion in the West Bank has intensified.

Anticipating growing Palestinian resistance in the occupied region, Israel attacked many cities, refugee camps, and villages, arresting thousands of Palestinian activists.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 163 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military as of Tuesday since the start of the Gaza war in the West Bank.

The Israeli war on Gaza has placed most of the attention on the extreme Israeli violence in the Strip, with the media paying little attention to the events in the West Bank. 

Two major elements deserve our attention in the West Bank, however: One, growing armed resistance against the Israeli occupation, with an attempt to lessen the pressure on Gaza. Two, the growing discontent with the Palestinian Authority, and increasing calls for action. 

The first point has been largely covered by the Palestine Chronicle. The second point deserves a pause.

Sons of Abu Jandal

A group calling itself Sons of Abu Jandal identified itself in a statement published on Monday as members of the Palestinian group Fatah who belong to the various Palestinian Authority security branches in the occupied West Bank.

These active PA officers gave the Palestinian Authority an ultimatum: “Brother Abu Mazen has 24 hours to produce a clear position, announcing full confrontation with the occupation,” the statement by the ‘Sons of Abu Jandal’ group read.

The following day, news circulated on social media, though not picked up by official news networks, suggesting that a PA convoy was attacked by Palestinian fighters. 

Some activists on the social media platform X went as far as calling it an ‘assassination attempt’ on PA President Mahmoud Abbas himself, where one of Abbas’ bodyguards was purportedly killed in the fighting. 

The lack of media attention to the story suggested that the widely-circulated videos of this supposed ‘assassination attempt’ was either fake news or an unrelated event.

Then something else happened.

24 Hours Ultimatum to Mahmoud Abbas – Who are ‘Sons of Abu Jandal’?

Drug Dealing Allegations

Social media activists cited an Israeli journalist, Elior Levy, who alleged that a Palestinian source told him that the video was showing “Palestinian security forces (making) an arrest against a drug dealer during which an exchange of fire developed and Abu Mazen’s (Mahmoud Abbas) convoy passed nearby without contact”.

If this was indeed the case, the explanation does, in fact, answer the question regarding the widely-circulated video. However, it raises another: why was Abbas’ convoy involved in the violent confrontation?

On Tuesday, Turkey-based Hurriyet newspaper reported that it was indeed the Sons of Abu Jandal group seen in the video, and that the event was linked to the group’s statement and ultimatum to Abbas. 

Hurriyet, however, does not provide a source, and The Palestine Chronicle cannot verify the authenticity of that claim. 

‘Verge of Escalation’

The story would have ended here if it were not for news reports, citing the Israeli military, as saying that “the West Bank is on the verge of a major escalation”.

The Israeli military statement was referenced in Al-Jazeera among other Middle Eastern media outlets.

The situation in the West Bank is indeed in a constant influx, and the power of the PA is likely to be challenged sooner or later by Palestinian Resistance groups in the West Bank, including by dissatisfied Fatah members. 

Even if no such assassination attempt has taken place, the fact that the news would spread among Palestinians with a great deal of enthusiasm indicates that West Bank Palestinians either anticipate or agree that it is time for Abbas and his PA to be removed. 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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