Mahmoud Abbas celebrates 18 years of a four-year term as Palestinian president

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas celebrated 18 years in office on Monday, a remarkable achievement considering that he was elected for a four-year term and that under PA law he cannot hold office for more than two terms.

The last PA elections were held on January 9, 2005. While the PA’s Central Election Committee reported that there were 1,760,481 registered voters, only 802,077 actually cast their ballots after the rival Hamas faction boycotted them, the monitoring group Palestinian Media Watch reported. Of those, only 501,448 voted for Abbas – less than 30 percent of the electorate.

According to PMW, Abbas is “just another dictator” who refuses to uphold the law and “give up the power he illegitimately usurped in 2009 at the end of his four-year term and as a result of his refusal to hold new elections”.

“True to its anti-democratic dictatorial values, the PA under Abbas has similarly refrained from holding general elections to the PA parliament since 2006. In those elections, the majority of votes cast were for Hamas, an internationally designated terrorist organization,” the report said.

Following international pressure, Abbas agreed in January 2021 to call general elections for the PA parliament in May followed by elections for the position of PA chairman two months later. However, Abbas scrapped the election as soon as he realized that Hamas was likely to win the election.

A poll conducted last month by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that not much had changed in a year and a half, and that if Palestinian presidential elections were held at the time of the survey, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would defeat PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, with 54 percent of the vote against 36 percent for Abbas.

The same poll found that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians – 72 percent – support the actions against Israel of terrorist groups such as the Lions’ Den.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told Haaretz newspaper in a report published Tuesday that a series of Israeli sanctions approved last week by the Security Cabinet against the government in Ramallah will lead to the PA’s collapse.

The sanctions include withholding nearly $40 million in tax revenue that Israel collects on behalf of the PA and giving the money to the families of Israelis killed in Palestinian terror attacks.

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