RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, increasingly unpopular and worn out by a power struggle with Yasser Arafat, submitted his resignation Saturday, dealing a serious blow to a U.S.-backed peace plan.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s office warned it would not agree to Arafat heading the Palestinian government, and a senior Israeli official demanded that Arafat be sent into exile.
Abbas held office for only four turbulent months, and there was some uncertainty about whether his resignation was final. One Palestinian lawmaker said the resignation might be a tactical move designed to pressure Arafat. [New York Times]