The Palestinians suspect that the long delay in the unveiling of the American peace plan has nothing to do with putting the finishing touches on a complex proposal, but rather is being held off until an ailing Mahmoud Abbas is replaced with someone more compliant, according to a senior Palestinian official quoted in an Arabic newspaper.
“They [the Americans] know that President Abbas will not accept this plan,” the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper quoted an unnamed PA official as saying. “They are betting on the time factor.”
The White House is preparing for the day when there will be Palestinian leaders who “would not be able to reject the peace plan and would have to deal with it gradually,” the official said.
During a stay in the U.S. last month, Abbas was seen at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The official explanation was “routine checkups,” but unconfirmed media reports said Abbas, almost 83, suffered a “major setback” in his health.
That was followed by the decision of the Fatah Central Committee to designate a successor.
In the event that Pres. Abbas can no longer carry out his duties, his deputy Mahmoud al-Aloul will take his place as “acting president…for a period of three months until elections can be held,” Fatah said in a statement from Ramallah. Al-Aloul was elected Abbas’ deputy several months ago.
Palestinian officials further claim that the Trump administration is pursuing a two-track policy: to secure a political solution for Gaza Strip and parts of Yehudah and Shomron without Yerushalayim; and to promote a new Palestinian leadership that would accept the solution.
They also claimed that the U.S. has been holding talks with Palestinian “economic” and “social” figures to help pave the way for the post-Abbas era.