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Abed Rabbo 'removed as media chief'

April 25, 2012 2:28 P.M. (Updated: April 26, 2012 8:17 P.M.)
RAMALAH (Ma'an) -- Head of the official PA broadcasting organization Yasser Abed Rabbo has been removed from his post, an official Fatah website said on Wednesday.

Abed Rabbo, who is also second-in-command to President Mahmoud Abbas in the Palestinian Liberation Organization, said he had not been informed of the decision.

The top official will take a new position as a political adviser to official radio and television, the Fatah relations commission said on its website.

On Tuesday, the official fended off accusations from the head of the union of public employees Bassam Zakarneh that he had banned the union from appearing on official media. Zakarneh also alleged that Abed Rabbo promoted "his men" within the organization, and refused a number of officials from appearing.

Director of official radio station Voice of Palestine Ahmed Zaki Aridi decried Zakarneh's claims as untrue and "incitement."

In December, the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad reported on a feud between Abbas and Abed Rabbo.

Abbas said he would appoint a new PLO secretary-general amid a fallout over the president's application to join the UN as a full member, Al-Ghad reported.

The newspaper said Abbas accused Abed Rabbo of turning people against the UN bid and his presidency, and decided to strip him of his official roles, including his leadership of Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation.

Abed Rabbo responded angrily to the reports at the time.

"Neither this news, nor the Shabiha gang deserve any comment," Abed Rabbo told a Ma'an reporter in Ramallah, referring to the term used to describe armed gangs fighting in Syria, alleged by both the regime and opposition to be allied to the other.

"Unfortunately (Palestinians) have Shabiha who are not different from those massacring (Syrian city) Homs today, however, unluckily for them they lack the capabilities, and the only thing they possess so far is such lies of this kind," Abed Rabbo continued.

He did not elaborate on the identity of the Palestinian 'Shabiha' he accused of working against him.

More recently, Abed Rabbo was slated to join PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and PLO official Saeb Erekat in delivering a letter from Abbas to Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu, outlining the president's position on peace talks.

Fayyad pulled out at the last minute, prompting reports that Abbas was incensed with his premier. Abed Rabbo also did not join the meeting.
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