A visit to Ramallah these days leaves you with a sense of pessimism. The streets are buzzing with rumors about Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ health. He was hospitalized July 29 for several hours. The official communique stated that his health condition is good, but to the skeptical Ramallah inhabitants, something suspicious is going on at the Muqata — the Palestinian Authority headquarters. More so, the health of the Palestinian leadership at large is the talk of the town. Recent publications revealed that PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat suffers from a serious lung disease and is waiting for a lung transplant in Israel or the United States.
A senior PLO official close to Abbas told Al-Monitor that Abbas is physically in good condition, but that his mood is very gloomy given his realization that there is no movement toward a two-state solution on the horizon. Abbas is very concerned for his confidant Erekat, who for all intents and purposes is his real foreign minister, as Erekat is in touch with the US administration, the European Union and Arab countries. On the other side, Abbas was encouraged by the strong backing he received from King Abdullah of Jordan when he visited Ramallah on Aug. 7.