Amid rumors of Abbas’ deteriorating health, PLO appoints successor  

Preparing for Abbas’ demise, the PLO has elected an interim successor, who is expected to carry on his legacy. 

By: World Israel News Staff

Amid rumors of the deteriorating health of Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO Central Council announced earlier this week that in the event that Abbas could no longer carry out his duties, he would be replaced by his deputy, Mahmoud al-Aloul.

According to the decision, in the event of Abbas’ absence, al-Aloul will be appointed to the post for a period of three months until elections are held.

Al-Aloul, 68, the former governor of the PA’s Shechem (Nablus) district, was elected to the Fatah Central Committee in August 2009 and was appointed as Abbas’ deputy in February of last year.

Abbas’ ailing health has long been a source of speculation.

Last month, he underwent what his aides called “routine checkups” in a US hospital. Despite his aides claiming that the results were “positive and reassuring,” other sources have indicated that his health has suffered a “major setback” in recent weeks.

There have been leaks from medical officials that Abbas is suffering from gastric cancer.

In his speech to Fatah officials in Ramallah last week, Abbas said that this might be his “last session” with them. “No one can guarantee his life,” Abbas, 82, observed, in an apparent reference to his health.

Abbas also reportedly told the gathering that al-Aloul was his preferred candidate to succeed him as chairman of Fatah, the Times of Israel (TOI) reported Wednesday.

Al-Aloul’s resume includes decades of planning terror attacks and fighting against Israel. His oldest son, Jihad, was killed in clashes with the IDF during the Second Intifada.

He belongs to the old guard of the Palestinian leadership and is expected to pursue the same policies of his predecessor, TOI predicted. Al-Aloul also believes that the US is no longer qualified to act as a broker in any peace process between the Palestinians and Israel.

In December, al-Aloul accused the US of being Israel’s “partner in violating Palestinian rights and assaults on the Palestinian people.”

In an interview with London-based newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi in January, al-Aloul declared that “the entire Palestinian leadership” is of the opinion that American administrations – all of them — “have not given the Palestinians anything of substance but rather worked in order to pull the rug out from under their feet by exerting pressures on them, and that with all their might they support [the Palestinians’] enemy.”

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He is also known as a leading advocate of boycotting Israeli goods.