Health rumours leave Palestinians wondering who will follow Abbas

by | Jul 14, 2022 | World

Before a planned meeting with US President Joe Biden on Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been back in the public eye in recent weeks, making appearances at events, including a trip to Algeria earlier in July, where he had a rare meeting with the leader of his Palestinian rival Hamas, Ismail Haniya.The images of the 87-year-old leader have softened rumours last month that Abbas was seriously ill, but questions remain.
Abbas, who has spent 17 years as president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), has previously had prostate cancer, which he has recovered from, and has had two cardiac catheters in the last 10 years. He has received medical treatment across the world, in Jordan, Germany and the United States.
A high level of secrecy surrounds information regarding Abbas’s health status.
Abbas’s health condition has raised local, regional and international concerns, as the question of who will succeed the Palestinian president remains.
“We are concerned seeing how the Palestinian Authority handled the rumours earlier this month; there was a lack of transparency, leaving everything open for rumours and conspiracy theories,” a senior international diplomat working in the occupied West Bank, who did not wish to be named, told Al Jazeera, “I am worried about the West Bank; I see Hebron, Nablus and Jenin not looking good, and I would worry about possible chaos, and then if Israel decides to intervene more forcefully, there could be much violence.”
Abbas’s succ …

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