If Abbas resigns…

Nov 09, 2009 Published under Israel, Leadership, Middle East, Mideast Negotiations, Palestine

There are doubts whether Mahmoud Abbas will truly resign, as he has claimed he will.  He has threatened to do so several times before, but he does seem exhausted by lack of momentum and a partner – on the Israeli side and among his own people.  This could strengthen him as his people start to appreciate him more and the international community and Israel do more to strengthen his course for peaceful negotiations.

If he does resign, analysis ranges from:

· A return to a third intifadah as Fatah resorts to violent or non-violent popular resistance

· Disbandment of the Palestinian Authority amidst a power struggle within Palestinian leadership, with serious repercussions for Palestinians and Israelis

· A major democratic step as a key Palestinian leader institutes an orderly election from a democratically elected successor

· Release of Marwan Barghouti, who claims the leadership mantle

· Introspective evaluation about how Israelis, Palestinians and the international community take the “peace process” for granted

· Emboldened Hamas momentum, amidst lack of leadership within Fatah

Ynet logo 

Fatah considers reverting to popular warfare

Senior operative says Abbas’ retirement may force Fatah to resort to violent protests, stone-throwing

Ali Waked

Following Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ announcement that he would not run for another term, a senior Fatah official told Ynet that if serious progress was not made soon in peace talks, the organization would consider reverting to popular warfare.

The source said Saturday that more and more Fatah operatives were calling for a return to violent resistance.

"We are not talking about terror attacks and weapons, but we are talking about protests and (throwing) stones, like the anti-fence protests, and about strikes and protests by the people, so that the world understands that the next step will be unpleasant and we go back to the way things were before Oslo," he said.

The Fatah operative stressed that the organization was not currently planning an intifada the likes of which was instigated in 2001.

"But there are people who understand that clinging to the peace process damaged Fatah," he said. "It presented us at best as people clinging to a failing process, with Israel giving us the finger time and time again, and at worst as collaborators with Israel."

He explained that Fatah, as the leading Palestinian movement, had many options to choose from. "The main option is its ability to get people on the streets, and the movement will be forced to discuss it," he said.

After Abbas announced his retirement from politics a flyer was issued by the military and political wings of Fatah calling on the president to retract his statement.

The flyer surprised officials in Israel as, according to agreements, the movement’s military wings were supposed to be disarmed and taken out of commission.

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