Abbas to Step Down? More Rumors Swirl in PA
JERUSALEM, Israel -- Not all Palestinian officials are denying a report from earlier this week that Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will resign his post in the next two months because of fatigue.
The Media Line reports as of Wednesday that sources close to Abbas "did not deny the possibility" of a long-rumored resignation, although some officials "vehemently denied" the report, which was broadcast on an Israeli television station.
If the 81-year-old chairman were to resign, it could happen before he is slated to address the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York this September.
Observers in the region are cautious because so many previous reports about an Abbas departure have been premature. The Palestinian leader lost control of the Gaza Strip to the terror group Hamas in 2007 and has not stood for election since his term expired in 2009, ostensibly due to conflicts between Hamas and Abbas's Fatah Party.
Prominent among the names mentioned to succeed Abbas is Marwan Barghouti, who is serving several life sentences in Israel for masterminding terrorist attacks more than a decade ago.
Long-time Palestinian official Saeb Erekat and Mohammed Dahlan, a strong rival of Abbas, are also on the list of possible successors.