Palestinians call on Abbas to resign in viral petition
In April, Abbas, whose presidency expired in 2009, cancelled elections that were due to take place throughout the months of May and June over Israel's refusal to allow Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem to participate.
His decision delayed a long-overdue democratic vote aimed at ending 15 years of political paralysis and division between the West Bank, where his Palestinian Authority is dominant, and the Gaza Strip, which has been ruled by Hamas since 2007.
Initially, the decision was met with protests, with Palestinians chanting the popular Arab Spring slogan "the people want the fall of the regime" on the streets of the occupied West Bank. The protests against Abbas dwindled as Israel stepped up its forced expulsion of Palestinians in the Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, but anti-PA activism continued.
Over the last week, a petition demanding Abbas' resignation went viral in Palestinian circles on social media.
The petition slammed Abbas for being out of touch with the struggles of the Palestinian people and for even failing to visit the besieged Gaza Strip after Israel launched an 11-day relentless bombardment campaign on the impoverished enclave, killing over 250 Palestinians, including 67 children.
The Jerusalem intifada "exposed the extent of the paralysis of the president and the way he has constrained a veteran national movement with a glorious history such as Fatah and frozen – if not destroyed – the PLO," the petition said.
An activist close to the organisers told Haaretz that they decided not to approach academics who are Hamas members, or those known as supporters of Mohammed Dahlan to ensure Abbas supporters do not try to smear the campaign as one with ulterior motives from political rivals.
"I'm in various WhatsApp groups, including of Fatah members, and I know that intense discussions are going on about the issue," a signatory told Haaretz. "And that’s healthy,"
"Abbas has made Palestinian politics another ugly example of an Arab regime. We want to rebuild the PLO, but that’s impossible without the person responsible for the situation leaving the stage."