Reports of Abbas’ declining health beg the question of who will replace him?
Israel’s security establishment is closely monitoring the health condition of Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas after he was hospitalized this weekend at the Al Istishari Hospital near Ramallah.
At the hospital, Abbas reportedly underwent “routine checks” including blood tests and X-rays. The hospital’s director, Dr. Fathi Abu Mughli, stated that the Palestinian leader left after 90 minutes.
“The results are good,” said Mughli, without elaborating.
PA officials stated that Abbas, 82, was admitted to the hospital after suffering from fatigue caused by the stressful events of the past two weeks concerning the Temple Mount.
One physician says that Abbas suffered from an inflammation of the stomach, aggravated by stress.
Throughout the 13-day crisis, Abbas purportedly endured a far more rigorous schedule than usual in order to keep up with the rapidly unfolding events and to maintain constant contact with Palestinian, Arab and Western officials.
Both Israeli and Palestinian sources concluded that Abbas’ health has deteriorated during recent months, which could hasten the process of choosing new PA leadership, Israel’s Haaretz reported.
Israel security officials are concerned about a power vacuum that may emerge if Abbas were to leave office or die. Such a vacuum could enable violent elements to take power or could lead to a general state of chaos for Palestinians.
While Abbas is reportedly considered to be healthy, he was treated for prostate cancer during the past decade, and was also diagnosed with heart problems. In June, Abbas dismissed reports that he had suffered a stroke.
Abbas is overweight and purported to be a heavy smoker, but recently swapped tobacco for electronic cigarettes.
In power since being elected to a four-year term that should have ended in 2009, Abbas refuses to groom a replacement. With Palestinian political institutions in disarray, there is no clear path to choose his successor.
A recent public opinion poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (CPSR) showed that 62 percent of the Palestinian public want Abbas to resign.
By: World Israel News Staff and agencies