AP Stringer Calls Abbas’s Bluff

UPDATE 1:25 p.m. I just spotted Maan News reporting a PA gag order on coverage.

Many Palestinian editors and journalists have been warned against making any public reference to the power struggle between President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah leader Muhamad Dahlan, an Israeli newspaper reported Sunday.

The story in question is by the Jerusalem Post's Khaled Abu Toameh. I hope AP gives Mohammed Daraghmeh sufficient cover.

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Ap_logo AP's Mohammed Daraghmeh examines the touchy question of who would succeed Mahmoud Abbas, should the PA president resign or become incapacitated.

The story's long overdue, and the PA chairman has threatened to quit so many times (Daled Amos lists them all) that this sort of article was bound to happen.

Days ago, Abbas got things rolling, saying he'd quit and dismantle the PA without another settlement freeze. Khaled Abu Toameh then raised the issue of succession, noting Abbas's frosty relations with younger generation Fatah leaders Mohammed Dahlan, Nasser al-Qidwa, and Ahmed Qurei. That led to a spat in the pages of the PA's Wafa News service, which AP describes from there.

Other possible contenders in the conversation are Marwan Barghouti, Saeb Erekat, Jibril Rajoub and Salam Fayyad.

Abbas's only leverage s to garner world sympathy with threatened resignations. But instead of feeling the world's love, the PA chairman and the rest of the West Bank are reading a story in the world's most extensive wire service — by a Palestinian stringer, no less — cautiously boosting Abbas's political rivals.

It's almost as if AP called Abbas's bluff. Might this be the last time he threatens to quit?