By: Middle East Affairs
Washington: Well informed western sources revealed to the Middle East Affairs website that last week Washington and Tel- Aviv conducted intensive consultations on the health of the Palestinian president, as well as the future of Palestinian-Israeli relations and various aspects of cooperation, including security cooperation in the absence of Abbas.
Tremendous stress and many trips abroad have deteriorated President Abbas’s health in recent weeks. It is rumored that he has undergone surgeries and suffered from pneumonia due to his weakened lungs from years of smoking. Abbas’s behavior and commentary have also drawn reason for concern.
The sources pointed out that regional consultations were held in secret and that many government officials in the Middle East expressed concern about the potential outbreak of internal Palestinian violence in Palestine in the absence of Abbas.
Washington has advised Tel Aviv to stay away from the issue of appointing a successor for the Palestinian president. The situation is difficult because it affects Palestine’s internally, but has external effects whose consequences will spill over to the region.
Anger among Palestinians has erupted who consider it a blatant interference in determining the future of their cause and their leadership.
The sources revealed that Washington and Tel Aviv are taking a sharp stance away from Dahlan, despite his extensive regional ties, and his efforts to improve Hamas’ image and market it in the Arab world, along with his efforts of preventing Arab countries from officially stigmatizing terrorism.
The sources explained that the international community and the United Nations are in a race against time to preserve the idea of a two-state solution and to put forward solutions before Abbas leaves his position. Other issues to sort out before his departure include the expansion of settlements, securing the notion of a Palestinian state, and preventing Israel from launching a devastating war on Gaza, as it will have negative effects on neighboring countries. Abbas himself has made no notions of who would replace him.
There is a possibility that his replacement could be decided democratically. The last election in Palestine was in 2006 to vote for parliament. Abbas’s departure will be a cause for concern because three separate positions will be open: chairman of the Palestinian Authority, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and leader of Fatah.
The bad blood between Fatah and Hamas is evident will most certainly further complicate who takes hold of Abbas’s place in the future. Israel does not believe that an election would take place if Abbas relinquished his position, they are more convinced that leaders from Fatah with diplomatic experience and members of security organizations would temporarily take leadership.