RAMALLAH — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas remained in hospital Monday, but his condition improved considerably in the course of the day, a Palestinian source told the Times of Israel on Monday afternoon.
Abbas, 83, was rushed to the Istishari Arab Hospital near Ramallah in the West Bank on Sunday with complications following an ear operation.
He was admitted with an ear infection and a fever, the source said.
By Monday, after Abbas received antibiotics intravenously, his temperature had come down to normal levels, he was talking with those around him, and walking to the bathroom unassisted, the source said.
“We hope he will be discharged within two days, the source said, describing his medical condition as “good.”
Earlier, an official told AFP that Abbas was expected to leave the hospital Tuesday and could return straight to work.
Abbas was hospitalized on Sunday with a fever, just days after undergoing ear surgery. Palestinian officials said that Abbas had pneumonia and was on a respirator, receiving antibiotics intravenously. They said he was conscious and lucid. Some sources also said he was suffering from chest pain.
Abbas has endured a series of recent health scares which have revived anxiety over a potentially chaotic, and even bloody, succession battle that could further weaken the Palestinian cause.
Israeli Arab MK Ahmad Tibi, who has close ties to Abbas, said Monday the Palestinian president’s condition had seen a “clear improvement.”
Senior official Saeb Erekat downplayed fears about his condition late Sunday.
“The president is suffering from an inflammation of the ear that developed following the operation he undertook recently,” Erekat told AFP.
It is the third time Abbas has been in the hospital in a week, initially for the ear operation on Tuesday and then for tests on Saturday.
Abbas, who is a heavy smoker and overweight, has a long history of health issues, ranging from heart trouble to a bout with prostate cancer a decade ago. Two years ago, he underwent an emergency heart procedure after suffering exhaustion and chest pains.
More recently, a cardiologist moved into the presidential compound in Ramallah to monitor the longtime leader after a mysterious hospital visit in the United States, following Abbas’s address to the United Nations Security Council in which he appeared weak.
Abbas, who insisted after the ear surgery last week that he was fine, has refused to designate a successor. But after more than a decade of avoiding discussion of the post-Abbas era, Palestinian officials acknowledge that they are concerned, and potential successors are quietly jockeying for position.
He won a four-year term as president in 2005, but he has since remained in office in the absence of elections.
Abbas argues the split between his Fatah party and Islamist terror group Hamas, which control the Gaza Strip, has made elections politically impossible.
He has been involved in decades of negotiations with Israel but is unpopular among Palestinians, with the majority wanting him to step down. He has also infuriated Israel’s government with a series of recent speeches denying any Jewish connection to the holy land and veering into anti-Semitism.