RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has fired his chief of staff over involvement in a videotaped sex scandal that has shaken the Palestinian leadership, a presidential aide said yesterday.
The firing is the latest chapter in a scandal that erupted in February when Israeli television broadcast a video showing the official, Rafiq Husseini, removing his clothes, climbing into bed, and calling for a woman not his wife to join him — part of an alleged scheme to extort sex in exchange for political favors.
The tape sent shockwaves through conservative Palestinian society and further eroded public confidence in Abbas and his aides, who are widely seen as aloof and out of touch with the public.
Speaking to the Associated Press yesterday, Husseini called the taping entrapment and said he never misused his position.
“The trap was in the end for the purpose of me stopping my work against corruption and against the Israeli occupation,’’ he said.
Nevertheless, the erudite, British-educated Husseini accepted the president’s decision, calling the mishap a “personal error of judgment.’’