Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has named a new Fatah chairman for Gaza. The appointment comes as Abbas is seeking reconciliation with Hamas, which took over Gaza in a bloody coup in 2007.
The new chairman will be Ahmed Nasser, a man with a rich background in terrorism who previously served time in an Israeli prison for terror.
Nasser, born in Khan Younis in 1954, joined Fatah in 1969 and was arrested by Israel for the first time as a teenager in 1970. He was arrested again in 1975 and sentenced to 25 years in prison for involvement in terrorist attacks in Israel, but was released in the Jibril prisoner exchange in 1985.
He was expelled from Gaza to Jordan in 1987 due to continuing involvement in terror, but was allowed to return in 1993 during the Oslo Accords process.
Nasser’s surprise promotion caused upset among current Fatah higher-ups in Gaza. They complained that the appointment was made without consulting them, and that the appointment did not conform to PA law.
The appointment was reportedly supported by senior PA official Nabil Shaath.
The Fatah-led PA is currently attempting reconciliation with Hamas. Senior leaders from both Fatah and Hamas plan to meet in Egypt this week to discuss a reconciliation agreement. Last week Abbas met with Hamas’ political bureau chief, formerly based in Damascus and now located in Gaza, Khaled Mashaal, for the first time in over a year.