Israel, Egypt and the United States are seeking to replace Mahmoud Abbas as chairman of the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Quds Press news agency reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed “senior Palestinian officials”.
According to the report, a meeting was held in Cairo two weeks ago with representatives from the Israeli Mossad, Egyptian intelligence officers and an American official. That meeting dealt with the question of Abbas’s successor.
Israel, Egypt and the United States, these unnamed sources told Quds Press, believe that Abbas is not fit to deal with future challenges, and they want to find a replacement who can manage the relationship with Israel and simultaneously curb the Hamas movement.
Those same sources said that several candidates were outright rejected, including former PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala), Palestinian Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub, and Marwan Barghouti, a senior member of Fatah who is serving several life sentences in Israel after being convicted on terrorism charges.
Two names that were brought up in this context are those of Mohammed Dahlan, a former security chief in Gaza and Abbas’s arch-rival, as well as Majed Faraj, head of the General Intelligence Service in the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria. Dahlan was cited for his good relations with Egypt and the Gulf States and Faraj was cited for his close ties to Israel due to the security coordination.
It should be noted, however, that Quds Press is identified with the political line of Hamas, and therefore it cannot be ruled out that the report is part of a propaganda war carried out by Hamas against the PA, in an attempt to undermine its legitimacy and present it as collaborating with Israel and being operated by foreign entities.