Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas wants to retire, according to a report released Wednesday, due to his advanced age and fatigue.
Palestinian Arab sources close to the PA government told the SAFA news agency that Abbas is ready to step down, citing the breakdown in negotiations with Israel and the deterioration of relations with 'unity government' partner Hamas as sources of despair for the de facto leader.
Just last month, "unity government" Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah reportedly stepped down for similar reasons.
Abbas has threatened to resign on numerous occasions in the past, most recently just two weeks ago.
PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat is seen as his likely successor – and Erekat, not Abbas, has become more ubiquitous in the press over the past month as Abbas seems to have quietly faded into the background.
Encouraging the current round of rumors is also that fact that Abbas appointed Erekat the new Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee – a role which, according to Palestinian public opinion, paints Erekat as Abbas's formal successor to the PA chairmanship.