After unconfirmed reports circulated on the web that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had been rushed to the hospital because of a stroke, his office said in a statement Saturday he is in good health. Some said on social media he had been taken to a hospital in Amman, Jordan, for treatment.
Spokesman Abu Rudeineh said the reports on social media were false and distorted, but made no further comment, the National reported. Abbas, 80, has been in office since 2005.
This is not the first time rumors have come up about Abbas’ health. In December 2014, rumor spread he had suffered a stroke, forcing him to make a public appearance at a supermarket to show he was healthy, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Abbas gave a speech Thursday evening at an event commemorating the 51st anniversary of the “Palestinian revolution,” urging Israel to “get out of our lives and our land,” the Times of Israel reported. “Your government is deceiving you,” Abbas said in comments directed at Israelis.
“They don’t want peace for you, or for us,” Abbas continued. “They are simply trying in any way possible to continue the occupation and the settlement of our land.”
At least 140 Palestinians have been killed since October in a surge of terrorism and violence. During the event, Abbas demanded the return of the bodies. The violence has at least partly stemmed from the view by some Palestinian Muslims that Jews from Israel have encroached on a Jerusalem holy site revered as one of the holiest places in Islam at which only Muslims are allowed to pray.
— Saudi Gazette (@Saudi_Gazette) December 30, 2015
CNN published an opinion piece Friday that focused on Abbas and how he has been dealing with the continuing violence. “The latest wave of Palestinian terror and violence, much of it being carried out using knives and vehicles, has created a situation where Abbas can neither restrain the killings nor engage in a systematic public or private campaign to condemn them,” Aaron David Miller, vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, wrote for CNN.
“It's a new form of terror, one that carries both benefits and risks,” he said.