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Palestinian Sources: 'The President Is Sick And Exhausted'

By David Bedein , Israel Resource News Agency

Jerusalem - The health of PLO leader and Palestinian Authority Chairman Machmud Abbas s failing, and he is under observation and treatment in a hospital in Amman-reported yesterday Al-Quds Al-Arabi, sparking a wave of rumors pertaining to the Palestinian president’s health.

About a month ago the 75 year-old Abbas fell in his home and sustained light injuries.

Official Palestinian media outlets were quick to report that the president had only slipped, however it was later learned that the fall was caused due to dizziness and weakness from which he suffers.

It has further been learned that the PA chairman’s health has taken a turn for the worse, which is manifested mostly in weakness and dizziness, and due to these symptoms he is under medical observation in Jordan’s royal hospital.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi, which sees print in London, reported yesterday that Abbas has secretly undergone treatment at least six times in the past few weeks. That said, the paper was not able to say the precise malady from which the PA chairman was suffering. Among other things, the paper suggested that Abbas was suffering from high blood pressure as well as a severe inflammation of one of his organs.

The paper further reported on rumors circulating that the PA chairman has been suffering from a heart ailment. Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that Abbas’s hospitalization in Jordan’s royal hospital took place in great secrecy, under a heavy cloak of security, which also related to the medical documents detailing his condition.

Abbas’s associates in Ramallah did not deny the reports yesterday. “In the past two or three weeks he has seemed far more exhausted, and his work pace has fallen,” they said. “In the past three weeks he has gone three times to Amman, in order to undergo medical tests.”

The same associates added that Abbas’s weakness may be due to the growing pace of his diplomatic efforts, and particularly the many trips he has taken overseas, during which he visited Latin America, Libya, Russia, Germany and the Far East.

Abbas is now in Egypt after having gone for a meeting with Hosni Mubarak. Abbas arrived in Sharm el-Sheikh, where the Egyptian president is recuperating from his own surgery a few weeks ago in Germany, and wished him a speedy recovery.

“We hope to see Abu Mazen healthy and fully functioning,” said sources in Ramallah yesterday and noted the fact that in the current situation of Palestinian politics, there was no visible alternative to the current chairman - neither in his political path nor in his international associations. His aides added that the PA chairman’s health was usually good, and that he suffers from no chronic diseases.

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