Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud AbbasFlash 90

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas dismissed Wednesday weeks of rumors that the Palestinian Authority could collapse, saying he would "never give up" on it.

Abbas, 80, was speaking publicly for the first time since rumors surfaced last week that he was in poor health, which the PA has categorically denied. He did not discuss the matter and appeared well.  

He also spoke as three months of attacks on Israelis by Palestinian terrorists make PA and its leadership appear increasingly out of touch.  

The PA, the governing authority set up under the 1993 Oslo peace accords with Israel, has faced funding shortages and rampant corruption, while Hamas and other rivals criticize its ongoing security cooperation with the Jewish state.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is preparing a contingency plan in the event of the PA's collapse, according to numerous media reports.

"I have heard a lot of talk in the past few days about the Authority, the destruction of the Authority, the collapse of the Authority," Abbas said. "The Authority is an achievement of ours that we will never give up."

"Don't dream of its collapsing, don't even dream," he told a press conference during a lunch during a lunch to mark Christmas, which some Orthodox churches celebrate on Thursday.

The PA was only meant to be a temporary body, but more than two decades after Oslo it still rules large chunks of Judea and Samaria, while Abbas himself has long outstayed his four-year term, which ended last decade.

In a recent poll, two-thirds of Palestinians said they supported terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, and believed a new "intifada" would serve "national interests" better than negotiations.  

Abbas refused to countenance an end to the PA.

Answering a question about what will happen after the PA, Abbas said "the Authority is here, and after it comes the (Palestinian) state. No one has any other scenarios, and we will not accept another scenario from anyone."

AFP contributed to this report.