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Abbas Hospitalization Continues Past Presumed Release Date

Over the past 48-hours doctors have called his health “excellent” and he was said to be leaving the Ramallah hospital by Sunday. But on Monday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas remained a patient and the Istishari Hospital’s director said there is no date set for his release. The hospitalization for pneumonia was the most recent in a series of medical problems that included prostate cancer, heart ailments and now, a lung infection. Speculation that Abbas is nearing the end of his tenure continues to skyrocket while Palestinians offer scenarios for successors. President Abbas has tapped no one as his heir-apparent and no one stands out as a hands-on favorite. The wide-open field is seen as incentive to support an Abbas departure, and those with interest are now expected to begin to jockey for position. Among the most often-cited to replace Abbas are Mohammed Dahlan, once security chief for Fatah in the Gaza Strip before Hamas threw them out in 2007; and Marwan Barghouti, the popular head of Fatah’s terror arm, the Tanzim, whose bid for president is hampered by the five consecutive life sentences for murder he is serving at the moment.

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