Abbas shutters Palestinian office of Israeli-Palestinian peace group


TEL AVIV (JTA) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the closure of the Palestinian office of the Geneva Initiative, a group that pushes for an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty.

The move came a month and a half after Abbas fired Yasser Abed Rabbo, head of the Palestinian Peace Coalition, the Geneva Initiative’s Palestinian arm, from his post as Palestine Liberation Organization secretary general. It was part of a string of moves that Abbas has made recently to consolidate his power, according to Haaretz.

Founded in 2003 following the completion of the Geneva Accords, an unofficial Israeli-Palestinian agreement negotiated by politicians from both sides, the Geneva Initiative aims to advocate a peace treaty to Israeli and Palestinian politicians and the public.

Abbas has attended the Geneva Initiative’s events. The Israeli branch of the initiative said in a statement that it would continue to pursue its goal with its Palestinian partners.

“It’s unfortunate that a personal power struggle led to the decision to close the Palestinian headquarters of the Geneva Initiative,” the statement said. “The Israeli headquarters will continue to work with its Palestinian partners, without connection to the organizational structure, to advance the idea of two states, which enjoys majority support in both nations.”

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