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Palestinians Don’t Deny Israeli Report on Abbas’ Impending Resignation

Palestinians are not denying a report aired by an Israeli television station saying Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is ready to resign his office citing “fatigue.” The Ma’an news agency said on Wednesday that although officials of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) “vehemently denied” the report, sources close to Abbas “did not deny the possibility.” If reports are true, Abbas would be expected to step down before the United Nations General Assembly meets in September, when he is scheduled to address the forum. While some Palestinian sources continued to dismiss the report as Israeli mischief, others turned to the ongoing debate over a successor to Abbas. One name inevitably raised is that of Marwan Barghouti, a popular leader serving five consecutive life sentences in an Israeli prison for his role in terrorist acts in the early 2000s. Another frequently mentioned is Mohammad Dahlan, a former head of security in the Gaza Strip prior to the takeover by Hamas who is a bitter rival of Abbas. The president’s term actually expired in 2009, but because of the friction between Fatah and Hamas no new election has been held. Accordingly, Hamas challenges the authority of the PA presidency.