In Palestine, the Rise of Hussein Sheikh, Facing an Ending Power – zimo News


The streets of Palestine hate him. Many of his peers despised him. But for now, Hussein Sheikh is enjoying his happiness. On Monday, February 7, President Mahmoud Abbas paid tribute to the minister and adviser in charge of relations with Israel. Raïs appointed him to the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) by a hundred representatives gathered at his Mouqata’a palace. An institution that has embodied the Palestinian cause since 1964.

The post of secretary general is reaching out to him. For the second time after Mr Abbas, he could undertake a transition of power upon his death. With a strong face and a slanted smile, 61-year-old Hussein Sheikh looks good. He smokes a “thin” cigarette, wears Italian shoes, and is surrounded by handsome assistants. The Palestinians saw in him the prototype of the machine and the money man. He is the hand and mouthpiece of Mr. Abbas, an increasingly isolated 86-year-old president plagued by suspicion. Economic affairs with Israel, cross-border permits, diplomatic contacts: everything goes through him. In many ways, he has embodied the power of Palestine.

prison education

“He was better off when he had no money or women. But he never had principles. He was a pragmatist who loved himself, an egoist and above all an opportunist, capable of infinite flexibility”, Summarizes a Fatah comrade who has seen him for 30 years. “He’s shameless, has no charisma or determination. He has nothing, that’s why he’s in this place: he doesn’t scare Abbas,” For his part, a European diplomat, he was surprised to see Mr Al-Sheikh named as his successor to the top job.

Hussein Sheikh was not born rich. He comes from a family of merchants, refugees from Ramallah during the Nabuqa (“disaster”) in 1948, when 700,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced when the State of Israel was established. Their village, Deir Tarif, in the plains outside Tel Aviv, has been removed from the map. The young man had little education. He got his legitimacy in prison.

He was imprisoned in Israel at the age of 18, where he spent 11 years until 1989. There he studied Hebrew and political an echo of the civil war Inciting jail cells in Lebanon, he compromised support for Abu Moussa, leader of pro-Syrian dissident Fatah, who expelled party leader Yasser Arafat and the last square there in 1983 out of Tripoli. Young Hussein Sheikh will be pardoned in a few months. He will never stray from the majority line again.

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