Mahmoud Abbas is really big on making big, dramatic statements that get headlines but are meaningless.
The most famous recent example was when he claimed he would not run for President again. He said this with the full knowledge that there will be no elections in the near future, and that the president of the PA is subservient to the chairman of the PLO - which just so happens to be Mahmoud Abbas. He has no intention of relinquishing power any time soon, but when he makes threats like these (and he has done it numerous times before) he gets headlines and a modicum of support from the Fatah faithful (for whom he is also the leader.)
Today, he came up with a new one. He told an Egyptian newspaper that it is possible that Israel will assassinate him, just like they assassinated Arafat. He compared himself to Arafat by saying that just like Arafat was a man of peace who signed agreements with Israel, so is he, and just like Israel killed Arafat, so might he be killed by Israel. But he believes in Allah so it's no biggie.
In the interview he also made the claim that 50% of the Jewish towns in the West Bank are empty.
Which brings up another thing he has in common with Arafat: he is a skilled liar.
(The claim that settlements are half empty reminds me of a speech given by the first head of the PLO, Ahmed Shukairy, in 1960 to the UN, where his proposal for peace was based on the idea that "There are now thousands and thousands of Jews who are clamouring to get out from this tyranny and misery which is called Israel, if they are only given an exit visa...When the alien Jews are allowed to quit the country, the situation will go back to normal." He actually claimed that Israel was preventing some half of its Jewish population from from leaving Israel. [And he compared Israel to the Nazis even then.])
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