PA chief Mahmoud Abbas
PA chief Mahmoud AbbasReuters

Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, is now 86 years old and has weathered many a storm throughout his career in Palestinian politics. However, the latest threat to his hold on power comes from within the ranks of his own Fatah party and has him seriously worried.

According to a new report in the Israel Hayom newspaper, anger is brewing within the Fatah ranks against Abbas, verging on rebellion against his policies and one-man-rule. Opposition to Abbas reached a peak with the chairman's announcement that he was appointing one of his relatives, Hussein a-Sheikh, to the PA Executive Committee of the PLO, thus positioning a-Sheikh to succeed Abbas as chairman

Many Fatah members are now openly opposing a-Sheikh's appointment. Although he is a senior Fatah member, he is not the most veteran of the group's members and other prominent figures such as Jibril Rajoub see themselves as the natural heirs to Abbas.

Adding to Abbas' woes is the recent dismal showing of the Fatah party in elections to the student union at Bir Zeit University. Their defeat at the hands of Hamas prompted mutual accusations within Fatah and was followed by a series of resignations of local Fatah leaders, including the Fatah leader of Ramallah, placing Abbas in an extremely difficult position.