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Abbas may quit Fatah, PLO posts

Nov. 10, 2009 11:40 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 12, 2009 9:28 A.M.)
Nablus – Ma’an – President Mahmoud Abbas is considering resigning from his roles on the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee and the Fatah Central Committee, Palestinian officials said on Tuesday.

The sources, who spoke on the condition that their names be withheld, also said that Abbas’ announcement last week that he will not seek reelection as president was a serious decision and not a political maneuver as analysts have said.

Abbas is also waiting for the appropriate moment to announce his resignation from the PLO and Fatah governing bodies, the sources added.

The sources said that this is what the president was alluding to in his speech last Thursday when he referred to making "the right decisions at the right moments."

In a speech last Thursday Abbas said he had “no desire” to stand for another term in an election that he scheduled for 24 January, citing frustrations with a year of stalemate in the peace process with Israel.

Analysts said the announcement was likely a tactic to get the US to apply more pressure on Israel to comply with its obligations to halt the expansion of West Bank settlements.

In an interview with The New York Times published on Monday, chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said Abbas had lost faith in the Palestinian Authority as an institution.

"He really doesn't think there is a need to be president or to have [the Palestinian] Authority," the PLO chief was quoted as saying.

Framing the crisis as larger than mere politics, Erekat warned of far-reaching implications: "This is not about who is going to replace him. This is about our leaving our posts. You think anybody will stay after he leaves?"

"I think he is realizing that he came all this way with the peace process in order to create a Palestinian state but he sees no state coming." Without that prospect, Abbas no longer feels relevant, Erekat added.

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