Palestinians' Abbas May Not Seek Reelection

Move could be a feint to jump-start peace negotiations
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2009 10:16 AM CST
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will not seek reelection next year, insiders say. Abbas has seen his credibility with Palestinians damaged during peace negotiations with the US and Israel, now stalled. “The president insists on not running in the upcoming election,” an official tells the Guardian, though some believe the move could be brinksmanship designed to bring US pressure on Israel.

Abbas is considered a moderate, and he has proven a somewhat-willing partner in the peace process. He won't return to talks, however, unless Israel halts all new settlements, and the move could be aimed at prodding the US to push Israel on that front. Abbas may make an announcement later today, though some officials say they are still trying to dissuade him. The elections are scheduled for January, though because of the Fatah/Hamas rift they will likely be delayed at least until June.