Is the Fatah movement's choice of Mahmoud al-Aloul as deputy to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas surprising? It depends on whom you ask.
Many West Bank residents paid close attention to Fatah's recent internal elections on the chance of getting a hint about who will one day succeed the 81-year-old president. They were certainly surprised to see Aloul “dropped into the post.” He is a relatively unknown figure who has not held a senior position in the movement for years. One group that was not surprised by the decision was the cadre of Fatah veterans. Over the years, they have learned, often with their flesh, that Abbas will do everything and use every means to distance anyone who might pose the slightest shadow of a threat to his leadership.