Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has informed the leaders of several major Arab nations of his intention to carry out a series of resignations from all of his posts, and to soon retire from politics outright. He took these leadership positions in 2004 and 2005, in the wake of Yasser Arafat’s death.
Abbas resigned last month from the PLO Executive Committee, along with 10 other members, forcing a new election. Though this was initially seen as entirely about forcing the vote, and trying to get more Fatah allies on the committee. The plan, according to reports, is for Abbas to resign as PLO chair, then head of Fatah, then as president of the Palestinian Authority.
It’s unclear who Abbas envisions as his successor, and there is no obvious leader-in-waiting. The timing, in that regard, is a bit of a surprise, but at 80-years-old and with a stalled peace process, Abbas appears not to be interested in staying in politics for its own sake.
Israeli analysts are seeing this entirely as a plot by Abbas to embarrass the Netanyahu government, noting Abbas has threatened to resign in the past and didn’t follow through. Whether he follows through or not, Abbas is clearly nearing the end of his dominance of Palestinian politics.