Who Will Succeed Mahmoud Abbas and Does It Really Matter?

(Gatestone Institute) Khaled Abu Toameh - "My age and health don't allow me to remain in power," PA President Mahmoud Abbas, 81, reportedly told Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. A "battle for succession" has been raging for weeks among the top brass of the PA leadership in the West Bank and there is no shortage of Palestinians who consider themselves "natural" and "worthy" successors. Clearly, Abbas' successor will not be elected through the ballot box. There are no free and democratic elections in the West Bank and Gaza. Therefore, it is up to the ruling Fatah's Central Committee to elect a new president. The Fatah leadership will not hand over the presidency to anyone who is not from its ranks. Today, Palestinians point to at least three candidates whose chances of succeeding Abbas are strong: Saeb Erekat, Mohammed Shtayyeh and Majed Faraj. Erekat and Shtayyeh are members of the Fatah Central Committee, while Faraj, who is also a senior Fatah official, heads the PA General Intelligence Force in the West Bank. Abbas relies on Faraj when it comes to protecting the PA regime against Hamas and other political rivals. Does it really matter who replaces Abbas? After Arafat died, Arafatism lived on. No real changes should be expected in the Palestinian attitude towards the conflict with Israel after Abbas departs.

2016-05-20 00:00:00

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