Fatah leaders urge Abbas not to resign from PLO leadership

The 80-year-old Abbas reportedly wants to retire due to his age and out of the desire to be "an ordinary citizen."

PA President Mahmoud Abbas. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has told Fatah leaders that he does not intend to present his candidacy once again for the position of chairman of the PLO Executive Committee, a senior Fatah official said on Tuesday.
Amin Maqboul, secretary-general of the Fatah Central Committee, said that the Fatah leaders unanimously rejected Abbas’s decision not to seek re-election.
The Fatah leaders urged Abbas to rescind his decision, Maqboul said.
Abbas’s announcement came two weeks ahead of a meeting of the PLO’s parliament-in-exile, the Palestinian National Council (PNC), to elect new members of the PLO Executive Committee.
Abbas and 10 other members of the Executive Committee are reported to have submitted their resignations in order to pave the way for the election of new members.
According to Maqboul, the 80-year-old Abbas told the Fatah leaders that his decision not to seek re-election during the upcoming PNC meeting was mainly because of his advanced age. Abbas also attributed his decision to “Israeli practices, the silence of the international community, lack of progress in the peace process and the internal affairs of the Palestinians," Maqboul explained.
He quoted Abbas as also saying that he was interested in seeing new faces in the PLO leadership.
Maqboul told the Palestinian daily Al-Quds that it was premature to tell whether Abbas was also planning to resign as president of the PA.
Abbas, who met earlier this week with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman, is reported to have expressed his intention to quit as president of the PA.
Jordanian sources quoted Abbas as saying that his decision to quit was linked to the current stalemate in the peace process. The sources said that the Jordanian monarch asked Abbas to display patience before taking any decision.
According to the sources, some Palestinian officials appealed to the Jordanians to intervene with Abbas to persuade him to abandon his intention to resign.
In a related development, the London-based Al-Rai Al-Yom online newspaper quoted Abbas as telling Jordanian government officials that he felt that his legitimacy has been “worn out” and that it was time for him to quit the political scene.
Abbas was also quoted as saying that he wanted to become an “ordinary citizen” and that he was personally tired of hearing that he is no longer a legitimate president because his term in office had expired in January 2009.
“Abbas stressed that he was personally exhausted and wanted to spend more time with his family as an ordinary person,” the paper said. “He wants to pave the way for the emergence of a new and young leadership.”