Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas waves during a welcoming ceremony for Chairman of the Tripartite Bosnian Presidency Mladen Ivanic in the West Bank city of Ramallah, March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM / RAMALLAH: Palestinian politics is a relentless and often fruitless pursuit: After more than two decades of on-off negotiations, a state remains out of reach.The fact that two of the most prominent Palestinians on the world stage are aging and, in Erekat's case, in need of life-saving surgery has prompted questions in both Israel and the Palestinian territories about what comes next.If the president of the past 12 years and his chief negotiator leave the scene, who would take over? And given the deep divisions in Palestinian politics, with Abbas' Fatah Party at sharp odds with Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls Gaza, what are the risks of internal armed conflict?Abbas has kept a tight grip on power since he was elected to a four-year term in 2005 .Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly dismissing Abbas as no partner for peace, Israel's security establishment likes his steady hand and the fact he favors peaceful resistance over violence. Those best-positioned around Abbas largely have the same perspective.
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