Monday, December 17, 2012
Palistinian's Future Leadership
After Abbas -Jonathan Schanzer
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is 77, a heavy smoker, and an incessant traveler. In 2010 he was admitted six times to a Jordanian hospital for unspecified health reasons. This raises the inconvenient question: Who will follow in his footsteps? Right now, the answer is Hamas. According to Palestinian Basic Law, Article 37, if the presidency of the PA becomes vacant, "the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council shall temporarily assume the powers and duties of the Presidency." The current speaker is Hamas' Aziz Dweik.
Of course, succession does not always proceed according to law, and the PLO could still appoint someone from its own ranks. However, a power struggle is a recipe for another ugly clash between the PLO and Hamas. Abbas refuses to name a successor. He has no vice president and no heir apparent.
The writer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Treasury Department, is vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.