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Monday, December 29, 2003

DEBKA Exclusive: Abu Ala threatening to resign

Palestinian Authority can't meet payroll January 1st
Last weekend, Ahmed Qureia aka Abu Ala became the second Palestinian prime minister to warn Yasser Arafat he was about to resign. He determined to throw in the sponge after discovering that the Palestinian Authority’s coffers were bare. There was nothing left to meet the January 1 payroll for 80,000 public workers and security personnel. In fact the PA has no operating funds at all.

Arafat, according to DEBKAfile’s Palestinian sources, greeted the threat in stony silence.

If Abu Ala quits now, he will have lasted a month and-a-half, compared with the four months his processor survived on the job before being driven out. Abu Mazen now spends most of his time in Amman and rarely ventures into the West Bank.

Abu Ala accused Arafat of exploiting the attention focused on fruitless discussions about a truce for an underhand move to help himself to the PA’s funds and whisk its financial system out of the hands of the pro-American Palestinian finance minister, Salem Fayed.

The evicted minister is left with nothing to do but twiddle his thumbs at home.

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