Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) recently announced he intends to extend his term in office into 2010.

He said he plans to do so by means of what is being called a legal ploy that will involve dissolving the Palestinian Legislative Council before the end of his term in January 2009.

Mr. Abbas will then complement the dissolution of parliament with an extension of his own term by six months, in the event that the reconciliation talks among the various Palestinian factions should fail.

Arab sources report that Mr. Abbas made his decision following consultations with senior PA officials and experts on the Palestinian constitution, which confirmed the report.

A high-ranking Palestinian source said that Mr. Abbas would announce his decision in the event that the reconciliation talks that are to be held in October in Cairo were to end in failure.

According to reports, Hamas is not expected to be forthcoming with Fatah or to take any measures that are likely to contribute to Palestinian unity.

Meanwhile, PA officials said that Mr. Abbas intended to extend his term in office by another year.

This confirms the statements that were made yesterday by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki during a lecture he gave in Jerusalem to Israeli Foreign Ministry officials. He said Mr. Abbas would remain in office until January 2010.

Mr. Maliki said that following the death of former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, any decision to extend the chairman’s term had to be made in conjunction and with the cooperation of others. One high-ranking Palestinian official said that the decision was made after senior PA officials advised Mr. Abbas to dissolve the Palestinian parliament, which is comprised of a Hamas majority. “Ending Abbas’s term this coming January creates a situation in which his replacement is his deputy, the PLC speaker from Hamas, Ahmed Bahar,” said the official. Hamas has threatened that it will not recognize a new Palestinian Legislative Council and said that “a decision of that sort will be a continuation of a series of illegal decisions that Abu Mazen has made,” said a Hamas spokesman.

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat, tried to say that all options were open and in a conversation with Israeli media denied the above report and said that the issue of Palestinian unity was at the top of the PA chairman’s agenda. “Abbas intends to act to end the division between Hamas and Fatah and to achieve a full agreement to his reelection,” he said.

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 2008


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.