Abbas may be released from hospital on Wednesday

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas may be released from the Istishari Hospital in Ramallah on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the medical institution said on Tuesday.

Abbas was hospitalized on Sunday after he was diagnosed with pneumonia and a high fever, two Palestinian officials said in phone calls on Monday, adding that the 83-year-old Palestinian leader’s condition improved .

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“The president’s condition is better. Every day he is doing better,” the spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post. “Tomorrow morning the doctors will assess his condition and then decide if he will be released. It’s possible that he could be released tomorrow.”

Late Monday evening, official PA television published a short clip of Abbas walking through a corridor of Istishari alongside his two sons, Tarek and Yasser, and photos of the PA president reading a state-run newspaper.

Also on Monday evening, Said Sarahneh, Istishari’s medical director, told official PA television that Abbas was “quickly responding to treatment and recovering.”

Fatah Central Committee member Jibril Rajoub and other senior officials, who said they visited Abbas, said in statements and television interviews on Monday that the PA president was in “good health.”

Last week, Abbas also went to the hospital in Ramallah two times. He underwent ear surgery last Tuesday and returned for a check up on the results this past Saturday, according to the official PA news site Wafa.

The PA president has taken little initiative to pave the way for someone to succeed him as PA president and as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

There are several Fatah and other Palestinian leaders who want to succeed Abbas, but they have refrained from making public statements to that effect.

Several Arab leaders called Abbas on Monday and Tuesday to check on his health, including Jordanian King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, according to Wafa.

When asked in a television interview whether Hamas is concerned about the consequences of Abbas’s death, Hamas chief in Gaza Yahya Sinwar said: “We ask God for health for everyone. But there is no doubt that our people have lost major leaders… Losing any leader certainly leaves a momentary vacuum, but our people can heal its wounds and bring its ranks together.”

A cardiologist was added to Abbas’s staff to monitor his health, a Palestinian source familiar with the matter confirmed to the Post in March.

The heart specialist, a German-Palestinian, has been working at the PA presidential headquarters in Ramallah alongside Abbas’s longtime personal doctor, the source said.

Abbas also underwent medical checks in Maryland involving a biopsy, Rajoub told official PA television in March, adding that the results of the examination showed the PA president was healthy.

In October 2016, Abbas underwent a cardiac catheterization – a procedure used to diagnose and treat heart problems, which doctors said showed normal results.