Skip to main content

Israel lacks 'day after Abbas' plan

Israel is unprepared for the possibility of PA President Mahmoud Abbas quitting his post, especially considering that his most likely heir is Marwan Barghouti, presently serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a joint news conference with Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (unseen) in the West Bank city of Bethlehem July 22, 2015. Rumblings in Ramallah in recent weeks have raised expectations that Palestinian politics is in play, with 80-year-old Abbas, in power for more than a decade, facing a mounting challenge to his leadership. There is frequent speculation that Abbas, who was elected to a four-year term in 2005 and has not had to face a vote since then, is about t
Read in 

A wave of rumors and news reports has swept Israel and its environs regarding the possible imminent resignation of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Palestinian Authority (PA) officials and associates of Abbas vehemently deny the rumor, saying that this is yet another stage in the psychological war being waged by Israel against the president. The word in Israel is that these news tidbits are being disseminated by Abbas’ adversaries from within, and there are plenty of those. It is important to remember that this may be simply more of the same: News of the imminent departure of the PA’s chairman has been bandied about in the past, and there were even times when Abbas himself leaked information and fueled the whispers. Yet the furor has always ended with him remaining in the PA headquarters in Ramallah, alive and kicking.

This time, it seems, the stories have more substance. Until recently, when senior officials of the Israeli defense establishment were asked about Abbas’ imminent resignation, they answered with a resounding no. But this has been changing over recent weeks. A very highly placed Israeli security source told Al-Monitor last week on condition of anonymity, “This time, the news tidbits about an anticipated resignation are more substantiated than in the past. They are also backed by intelligence evidence. Abbas has many reasons to resign. He also has reasons to remain. We get the impression that this time it’s more serious, though I wouldn’t commit myself yet.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.