Sunday, June 15, 2008

Palestinian Affairs: Abbas's perceived failures and potential successors

Contributed by Lucia in Spain

"....."Abbas is not someone who can lead the Palestinians at this stage," said a top Fatah operative in Ramallah. "The time has come to search for a strong and charismatic figure."

ACCORDING TO sources in Ramallah, among the potential candidates to succeed Abbas are Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, jailed Fatah operative Marwan Barghouti, former prime minister Ahmed Qurei, chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and former Fatah security commander Muhammed Dahlan. The sources said that each one of the potential candidates is working in his own way to improve his chances of becoming the third president of the PA.

Qurei [the traitor who sold cement to the Israelis to build the Apartheid wall and the colonies in the West Bank], for example, is trying to project himself as a "tough" negotiator who would never compromise the full rights of the Palestinians......

"There's a feeling that Abbas is close to disappearing from the public scene," remarked another top Fatah official. "He's exhausted; he's angry; and he's obviously fed up with the Israelis and the Americans. He knows that he's not going to get anything before the end of this year, or any other time in the future. He's also aware that many of those around him have their sights set on his job."

Abbas's surprise decision last week to hold unconditional talks with Hamas is seen by Palestinian officials as an expression of his growing disappointment at the lack of progress in the peace talks with Israel. In addition, Abbas is hoping that a "sulha" [reconciliation] with Hamas would enhance his status among the Palestinians and turn him into the hero who managed to reunite the Palestinians, thanks to his "wise" policies.

On the other hand, Abbas's decision, which has angered many Fatah officials in Ramallah, may be linked to the Egyptian efforts to achieve a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. His main concern is that a cease-fire would consolidate Hamas's grip on Gaza, and help the movement extend its influence to the West Bank.

Although Abbas and his top aides have publicly supported the cease-fire initiative, many of them would have preferred to see the IDF invade Gaza and overthrow the Hamas regime. But no one in Ramallah is prepared to say this openly, for fear of being branded a "collaborator." "

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