Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, 81, was admitted to the Istishari Arab Hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday, reportedly to receive cardiovascular tests after suffering from heart pains, foreign media reported.
The Associated Press reported that a Palestinian official had said Abbas was “rushed to the hospital” after falling ill, while a hospital official added that Abbas underwent a cardiac catherization, a procedure used to test for cardiovascular issues.
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat told USA Today that the heart tests undertaken confirmed the president was in “good health,” while another anonymous official said that “no one is panicking” about Abbas’ health condition.
Erekat’s spokesperson was not available for immediate comment on Abbas’ health.
A hospital source said that the president was receiving “regular medical checkups” and confirmed that he was in “normal medical condition.”
The hospital manager Saed Sarahna told Ma’an later in the evening that Abbas had left the hospital and his health condition remained normal
“The president is doing a regular checkup in the hospital. The doctors said he is totally normal,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Abbas’s spokesman, stated. The Jerusalem Post newspaper reported yesterday that Abbas underwent a cardiac catheterization, where a tube was inserted into a blood vessel to examine the strength of his heart. Abbas did not comment on his health after leaving the hospital but later told the state-run Palestine TV that everything went well, according to the Associated Press. Abbas has been in office since 2005 following the death of President Yasser Arafat, and he refuses to step down despite the expiration of his term of office.
Abbas underwent a similar procedure in 2008 in Amman, Jordan after experiencing cardiovascular complications.
Abbas, who has been the Palestinian president for more than a decade, has not yet appointed a successor in case his health deteriorates, sending international media into a whirlwind of speculation on what would transpire if Abbas were to suddenly pass away.
Abbas’ health tests also came on the heels of the postponement of local elections in Palestine that have unraveled in recent weeks, with the Palestinian government to push the elections for four months after coming under heavy criticism after the Palestinian Supreme Court announced that the elections would exclude the besieged Gaza Strip.
The recent electoral controversies have further heightened tensions between the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) and its rival Hamas, which have tried and failed to reconcile since the two groups came into violent conflict in 2006 when Hamas won general elections in the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, critics have accused Abbas of refusing to relinquish his seat as president despite popular support for him to step down.
The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) found in a 2016 poll that at least 64 percent of the Palestinian public support the resignatio