Palestinian president Abbas leaves hospital

Palestinian president Abbas leaves hospital

RAMALLAH
Palestinian president Abbas leaves hospital

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas left hospital on May 28 following eight days of treatment for pneumonia and pledged to return to work.

The 83-year-old, dressed in a suit as usual and walking without assistance, gave a short statement on being discharged, saying he planned to be back at work in his office as normal on Tuesday.

“Thanks to God, I left the hospital today in good health and return to work starting tomorrow,” he said, speaking vigorously and with his two sons by his side.

“I thank the leaders, kings, politicians, presidents, brothers -- Arab and non-Arab - who have kindly asked about me, and I am thankful to all.”

Abbas, known to be a heavy smoker, was admitted on May 20 to the Istishari Arab Hospital near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank with complications following an ear operation, including high fever.

Officials have since said he was being treated for pneumonia.

His extended hospitalization led to widespread speculation over whether his condition was worse than the details being disclosed.

No successor is publicly in line for the Palestinian presidency, which has added to concerns over Abbas’s health.

Abbas won a four-year term as president in 2005, but he has since remained in office without further elections.

He argues the split between his Fatah party and Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has made elections politically impossible.

A moderate, Abbas has been involved in decades of negotiations with Israel but is unpopular among Palestinians, with the majority wanting him to step down.

Many Palestinians see his approach to negotiations as having failed to end the Israeli occupation and come anywhere near reaching the goal of statehood.

Israeli officials, while criticizing what they see as his intransigence, greatly value the security coordination with them Abbas’s administration has provided.

Some analysts say an interim arrangement would be the most likely course of action after Abbas’s death to prevent a lengthy succession battle.

Israeli army raids West Bank Palestinian camp after soldier death

The Israeli army raided a Palestinian refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on May 28, AFP journalists said, in an apparent hunt for suspects in the killing of a soldier.

Dozens of Israeli troops entered the Amari Refugee Camp in Ramallah in the early hours of Monday, closing off all the entrances, AFP journalists said.

At least 13 Palestinians were lightly or moderately injured during the raid as clashes broke out, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, with soldiers firing tear gas and bullets.

Residents said a number of Palestinians were arrested, though there was no immediate confirmation or statement from the army.
Israeli forces later withdrew from the camp.

It came days after an Israeli soldier was killed during a raid inside the camp.

Sergeant Ronen Lubarsky, 20, of the Duvdevan special forces unit, was struck on the head by a stone block thrown during an arrest raid on May 24 and died early on May 26.

Israeli media said the block was a granite slab dropped from a third-floor window.

Those responsible were not arrested at the time.

Amari is located inside Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority, in an area theoretically under the full control of the Palestinian government.

Israeli forces regularly carry out night raids in Palestinian-governed parts of the West Bank to arrest suspects they accuse of militant activities against Israel.

Amari, home to around 6,000 Palestinians according to the United Nations, is a regular flashpoint where Israeli raids have sparked fierce clashes in the past.

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