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Can Abbas lead Palestinian Authority into Gaza after Israel-Hamas war?

As the humanitarian situation in Gaza grows more dire by the day, some Palestinians are frustrated at the slow pace of the leadership in Ramallah.
TOPSHOT - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (R) arrives to lay a wreath of flowers by the graves of Palestinians killed in recent Israeli military raids on the Jenin camp for Palestinian refugees, north of the occupied West Bank on July 12, 2023. (Photo by Zain JAAFAR / AFP) (Photo by ZAIN JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)
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This is an excerpt from Palestine Briefing, Al-Monitor's weekly newsletter covering the big stories of the week in Palestine. To get Palestine Briefing in your inbox, sign up here.

The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah led by President Mahmoud Abbas has continued a policy of cautious nuetrality as it monitors the carnage between Hamas and Israel since Oct. 7.  There is no movement, nor any opening to Hamas, and the 87-year old Palestinian leader also has not openly entertained the idea of resigning to allow someone new to lead. 

Meanwhile, mistrust between Abbas and Hamas is at an all-time high. Abbas blames Hamas for putting the people of Gaza and the Palestinian cause in a difficult position. That much of the world casts the group as a terror outfit also makes it hard for him to cooperate with the group. Hamas, meanwhile, blames Abbas for doing nothing to fend off the Israelis and their backers in Washington as the war in Gaza approaches its sixth week. 

Abbas and his entourage are trying to convey to those around them that his keeping a low profile, maintaining warm relations with the West and respecting international law ultimately preserves Palestinian nationalism.

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