It is now confirmed that Mahmoud Abbas, will continue to serve as Palestinian president even after January 2009, which is when his legal term in office is scheduled to end.
Mr. Abbas had inherited the dual position from Yassir Arafat as the head of the Palestinian Authority in January 2005, and the Palestine Liberation Organization in November 2004, following Mr. Arafat’s death in November 2004.
Senior Palestinian sources said that Mr. Abbas’ decision had been made despite Hamas’ announcement that it would not recognize Mr. Abbas as president and would demand that elections be held as soon as possible.
Instead, Mr. Abbas had held a number of consultations with Arab heads of state and earned their full support for his continued term as Palestinian president.
Mr. Abbas was warned by a number of the Arab leaders that he would do best were he to refrain from holding elections, which were liable to give Hamas the presidency as well.
In the past number of months, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been urging Mr. Abbas to appoint a vice president, lest his departure leave a political vacuum that would then be filled by Hamas.
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com.
©The Bulletin 2008