Ramallah: Palestinian officials on Friday rallied around a top aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after a video surfaced showing him in the nude in an alleged attempt to trade his influence for sex.
The footage of Rafiq Husseini, shot by a former Palestinian intelligence officer, has raised an uproar in conservative Palestinian society.
In the video, broadcast by Israeli TV earlier this week, Husseini is shown undressing in a bedroom and calling out to an unseen woman, heard speaking off camera, to join him. "Do I turn off the light or do you? What is the procedure?" Husseini is heard asking the woman.
The former Palestinian intelligence officer, Fahmi Shabaneh, said he secretly took the footage in collusion with the unidentified woman. He said the woman had complained to him that Husseini was making suggestive remarks when she went to his office to ask for help with a family problem. Shabaneh said he then installed cameras in the woman`s bedroom and filmed Husseini`s next encounter with the woman.
The video was first broadcast by Israel`s Channel 10 TV on Wednesday, and Husseini has declined comment. He was expected to present his case later Friday on Palestine TV.
Abbas, who is travelling in the Far East and due back in the West Bank on Monday, has not commented.
The independent West Bank-based Maan news agency urged Husseini in an editorial to step down pending an investigation, arguing that he could no longer carry out his job effectively.