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Palestinian Leader Abbas Hospitalized, Officials Say

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has returned to the hospital after suffering complications from a minor surgery performed earlier this week, a Palestinian official said on Sunday.

It was the third time that Abbas, 82, has been in the hospital since Tuesday, when he underwent ear surgery at a hospital in the West Bank city of Ramallah. He was also hospitalized briefly late Saturday, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

Abbas had gone into the hospital “for a checkup to review the surgery that he had in his middle ear a few days ago at al-Istishari hospital in Ramallah,” Wafa said in a statement released early Sunday, according to Reuters.

Later Sunday, Wafa released a second statement quoting the medical manager of the hospital as saying the results of Abbas’ medical tests were “good” and his condition was “reassuring.”

Abbas became president of the Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the West Bank, after the death in 2004 of Yasser Arafat. He is also chairman of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, after having been re-elected unopposed on May 4.

Abbas’ hospitalization comes at a time of sour relations with both Israel and Washington over the transfer of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. While the move was widely praised in Israel, it was condemned by Abbas and other Palestinian leaders, who encouraged mass demonstrations timed to coincide with the official embassy opening on Monday.

The protests turned deadly when Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition at demonstrators threatening to breach a border fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip. (RELATED: U.S. Amb. To Israel: Embassy Not Intended To Provoke Palestinians)

Abbas recalled the Palestinian envoy to Washington on May 15 — a day after the embassy opening. On Wednesday, he did the same for four European countries — Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania — which had participated in the gala celebrating the embassy move.

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