Advisers to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday denied reports Abbas will resign within two months. The statement came after reports Abbas would step down due to fatigue, allegations Palestinian officials have dismissed as “Israeli rumors.”
Abbas Nimer Hammad, a Palestinian political adviser, said the rumor Abbas would step down is the product of an Israeli attempt to “disrupt” the work of the Palestinian Authority's leadership, the Jerusalem Post reported. Abbas, 80, is the target of frequent resignation speculation, which has ramped up since he failed to make any progress in recent peace negotiations with Israel.
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, was named in a report from Israel's Channel 1 News as the likely successor to the 80-year-old Abbas.
In addition to failing to make progress with Israel, Abbas' leadership has been a source of contention with the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Slah Bardawil, a senior Hamas leader, has accused Abbas of acting against Palestine's national interests and leading like “a dictator who every day proves to be an enemy of the Palestinian people and who is unsuitable to govern,” Israel National News reported. Abbas became the first president of the Palestinian National Authority in January 2013 and Palestinian president in 2005.
Hamas has also asserted more than 200 of its members have been detained by the Palestinian Authority during Abbas' time in office, with many of those captured being tortured. This dispute is just the latest sign of tension between Hamas and Abbas' Fatah party, which have engaged in an ongoing dispute for years.
“There is no real reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah,” Diana Buttu, a lawyer who once worked for Abbas, told the New York Times last month. “The West Bank hasn’t really been pushing for the reconstruction of Gaza, and so as a result, it was inevitable that this government was going to fall apart.”