A successor for President Abbas? Who and how?

By Rashid Shahin

Rumours have been spreading recently about the intention of President Abbas to abandon all his titles, and perhaps leave or retire from politics. Abbas has grown old and has the right to enjoy his retirement years.Numerous similar reports have been published, especially in the Zionist Media. Some of them are reporting from Palestinian or other well known sources.

Within this uncertainty there are many rumors, expectations and analyses. There are talks about ‘competitions’ and even ‘fights’ going on behind the scenes among the top leaders of the Fateh Movement (the PA party).

Yes, it is worth competing for as Mr. Abu-Mazen occupies many of the most important leading positions and titles in the Palestinian political field. He’s the State president, the president of the PLO, the leader of the Fateh Movement, and the  leader of the Palestinian Security Forces, and he makes all the top decisions for peace and war.

Abbas inherited these monopolies and positions from his predecessor Arafat who made this a ‘norm’ or something that should be followed. As it happens, nobody has heard anybody on the Palestinian side articulate this or even wonder why we should stick to this ‘norm‘, or why all these titles should be held by just one man? Another more important question is, why all these positions and titles should be held by one man from the Fateh Movement?

To help and ease the fight between the competitors for these positions, we suggest that they change this ‘norm‘, to break this political ‘inheritance’, that these positions and titles shouldn’t be in the hand of one man, and each position should be taken by one person.

However, the other side of the coin is: Why should all these important positions be monopolized by the Fateh Movement? We don’t deny the right for the Fateh men to monopolize competing for their head of party and its central committee, but competing for the other national positions should be open to all Palestinian people. Palestine is for all and can’t be owned by any party.

There is another serious matter that is not taken into consideration or spoken of, outside of the Fateh Movement. This ‘factor’ is strongly considered to be the next heir not only for president Abbas but to dominate the whole Palestinian representation and to be the only player in the political field, to sit apart from the PLO or any other political entity. The factor, player or competitor that we are talking about is the Hamas Movement, which no one has mentioned when talking about the successor of Abbas. Hamas, which is doing all it does from behind the back of the leadership (of the PLO) and all the other Palestinian factions, doesn’t hold its negotiations and connections with the Zionists arbitrarily, as some think. Hamas does all that to gain international and Zionist acceptance and to say that there is someone who could inherit Abbas, and if you are looking for other options we are here.

In fact, Hamas decides everything related to the Gaza Strip which represents almost half of the occupied population. Hamas is also the deciding factor in war and peace most of the time. According to all sources, political analysts and observers, Hamas holds negotiations with the Israeli occupation State through different mediators, negotiations that might shape future relations with the occupation State. There is Zionist acceptance for all of that, in fact there is Zionist satisfaction.

The occupation that has for so long desired to strike the PLO out, has long worked to force the equation as a Palestinian state in Gaza alone, while the rest would stay under the occupation umbrella which would be ruled by mutual administration or any other administrative shape the occupation decides.

We hope the future will not be so, but the option is available, especially as the men are hectically busy in open and secret competition to replace Abbas.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect PNN’s  editorial policy