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Palestinian president leaves hospital after eight days stay



Ramallah (Palestinian Authority) (AFP) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas left the hospital on Monday after eight days of treatment for pneumonia, leading to intense speculation about the 83-year-old's condition and eventually replacing him.

In his usual suit and without assistance, Abbas briefly reported the release and said that he plans to return to work as usual on Tuesday.

"Thank goodness I left the hospital today for good health and return to work tomorrow," he said energetically, with his two sons by his side.

He thanked all international leaders who called his health and wished him well.

The hospitalization came at a time when US pressure on Abbas and the Palestinian Authority had increased.

Some analysts said Abbas would now focus on work again and downplay the talk of resignation. He is expected to chair the meeting of the Central Council of his Fatah party on Tuesday.

Abbas was brought to the Istishari Arab Hospital near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on May 20 for an ear surgery, including high fever.

Officials have since said he was being treated for pneumonia.

His prolonged hospitalization led to widespread speculation that his condition was worse than the details revealed.

No successor is open to the Palestinian Presidency, which has contributed to the concern for Abbas' health.

Abbas won a four-year term as President in 2005, but has remained in office without further elections since then.

He argues that the split between his Fatah party and the Islamist movement has made Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, politically impossible.

– To pretend that "it does not happen" –

A moderate, Abbas was involved in the decades of negotiations with Israel, but unpopular among the Palestinians, the majority wants him to resign.

Many Palestinians see his approach to negotiations as having failed to end the Israeli occupation and are not close to the goal of securing statehood. Although Israeli officers criticize what they consider to be intransigence, they appreciate the security co-ordination provided by his government.

Abbas followed Yasser Arafat, the charismatic, keffiyeh-wearing leader worshiped by Palestinians.

Although Abbas was appreciated by the international community for his belief in negotiations and his rejection of violence, he fought to fulfill the Palestinian expectations left by Arafat.

In recent months, Abbas has confronted what the Palestinians consider a blatant bias by US President Donald Trump's Administration

Abbas froze all ties with the White House when Trump made the decision to take Jerusalem as I did Recognizing Israel's Capital

The United States has also frozen tens of millions of dollars in aid to Palestinian refugees to the United Nations agency, threatening to close down the Palestinian Liberation Organization's Washington office.

Abbas sharpened his rhetoric US officials

In a recent speech, he called the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, a supporter of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, a "son of a bitch."

Abbas referred to Trump's Jerusalem An explanation when he left the hospital, indicating that it had weighed heavily on him.

"When the question of Jerusalem took us to the hospital, we wanted to get out of the hospital to make Jerusalem the capital of Palestine," he said. Israel sees the entire contested city as its capital, while the Palestinians want to see the annexed eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

Nour Odeh, a Ramallah-based political analyst, said the president would look no further to use the Fatah Central Council to re-focus on opposition to Israeli and American politics.

"I do not doubt that recent events will have an impact – the president is not young," she said, adding that he seemed

Diana Buttu, a former Abbas counselor, who became a fierce critic , said that Abbas would try to suppress all conversations about succession.

"He's going to pretend that the whole thing has not happened, it's as if an 83-year-old had not had serious pneumonia," she told AFP.

"Other politicians know that when they talk about succession, they are out."

na -ab-iod-mjs / hkb


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