Abbas Threatens to Resign From PA Leadership

Faced With Growing Protests and Split Cabinet, Is He Serious This Time?

by Jason Ditz, September 19, 2012

According to Palestinian officials familiar with the situation, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to resign, telling his cabinet that they need to search for a replacement and that they have “10 days until I return from the United States.”

The threat comes amid major protests about the economic downturn in the West Bank, and a PLO cabinet apparently split on the question of cancelling the Oslo Accords. He is also facing growing calls from the Israeli foreign ministry to resign, with them calling him a “diplomatic terrorist” for pushing the issue of statehood.

There’s a question about how serious the threat is, however, as Abbas has resigned many times in the past, an estimated 15 times since 2003, and has always backed down at the last minute, claiming to grudgingly be staying on.

But is this time different? The West Bank economy seemingly is only getting worse, the peace process has been stalled for years, and Hamas is gaining growing influence within the Egyptian government as an alternative Palestinian movement. At this point, Abbas may figure he’s better off trying his luck in retirement or exile.

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