Report: Abbas’s Clinging to Power Hinders Post-War Plans for Gaza

By Yoni Weiss

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) meets with Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah on Jan. 10. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/Pool via REUTERS)

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that Mahmoud Abbas’s insistence on remaining in power is hindering post-war plans for Gaza. The 88-year-old Chairman of the Palestinian Authority is seen as an obstacle to the restructuring of the PA, necessary for its governance of Gaza after the Israel-Hamas war.

While the U.S. publicly supports a revitalized PA overseeing Yehudah and Shomron as well as Gaza, there are private discussions among Western and Arab officials about removing Abbas from the presidency or reducing his powers. Potential successors mentioned include former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, exiled former Gaza security chief Mohammed Dahlan, and jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti.

WSJ said in the report that it had contacted Fayyad and Dahlan. Fayyad mentioned hearing about potential U.S. support for his appointment but said he hasn’t been approached. Dahlan, considered a key player in Gaza’s future, expressed a lack of interest in leading in Gaza but stated he would seek his party’s participation in the next Palestinian election.

Abbas recently appointed two new security officials as part of a government overhaul. Arab officials cited in the report suggest that Abbas is expected to travel to Doha, Qatar, this week to present his plan for Gaza’s reconstruction after the Israel-Hamas war concludes.

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