The Surprising Ascent of Yasser Abbas

Yasser Abbas, the son of the Chairman of the PA has begun to immerse himself in the political activities of the PA, recently participating in the Palestinian delegation for talks with Saudi leadership. At the top echelons of Fatah, there is growing concern that the PA Chairman is grooming Yasser as a potential successor. Meanwhile, on the Palestinian streets, accusations of corruption and nepotism within the PA abound.

Is Mahmoud Abbas, the PA Chairman, preparing a major surprise for the senior members of the Fatah movement vying for succession once he departs from the Palestinian political stage? This is the question that currently occupies the minds of top Fatah officials.

Sources within the Fatah movement have disclosed that Yasser Abbas, the son of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, though primarily a businessman, is also a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council. Recently, he has been participating in confidential meetings regarding political matters both within the region and abroad.

It’s important to note that Yasser Abbas holds no official position within PA or Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) institutions.

This heightened involvement coincides with mounting rumors about his father’s imminent retirement from political life.

The PA has denied these speculations but has not provided any explanations for Yasser Abbas’s increased political activities.

Yasser Abbas was part of the Palestinian delegation that visited Riyadh two weeks ago for discussions with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan, as well as a delegation from the American administration, concerning Palestinian expectations regarding the anticipated normalization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Notably, the discussions in Riyadh, which included Yasser Abbas, were not publicly disclosed by either the Saudis or Americans.

One plausible interpretation is that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas aims to use Yasser’s presence in the delegation to ensure its members adhere to his instructions and do not engage in backroom deals without his knowledge.

Given the intense power struggles at the top of Fatah, which could potentially lead to internal strife within Palestinian society, it’s conceivable that Mahmoud Abbas is considering reshuffling the cards and grooming his son for a succession role.

Yasser Abbas resides outside Judea and Samaria but frequently visits Ramallah.

During the delegation’s visit, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan assured its members that Saudi Arabia has no intentions of compromising Palestinian rights in negotiations with the Biden administration and Israel.

He expressed confidence in Saudi leadership and a desire for full coordination on the issue.

Within the Palestinian community, Yasser Abbas’s participation in the delegation to Saudi Arabia is viewed as a troubling sign of corruption and nepotism in the management of the PA.

Despite international and Palestinian criticism, Mahmoud Abbas, nearing the end of his political career, appears unperturbed, believing he enjoys immunity from the United States, the European Union, and Israel, allowing him to act with impunity.

The Palestinian opposition alleges that Mahmoud Abbas, during his tenure, leveraged his position to build a substantial economic empire for his two sons, Yasser and Tarek, throughout the Middle East.

According to them, these economic ties with various Arab countries have grown stronger, and it appears they are seeking to enhance their economic relations with Saudi Arabia.

In any case, this affair has stirred widespread criticism among Palestinians and heightened fears among Fatah’s leadership that the PA Chairman may attempt to impose a successor against their wishes.

Mahmoud Abbas seems content with the uncertainty within Fatah’s upper ranks. He employs a “divide and rule” strategy, deriving satisfaction from the unease among his political adversaries, which makes them cautious and inclined to remain loyal to him.

At this stage, he asserts at every opportunity within the Fatah movement that he has no intention of resigning from his position.

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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