The Israeli army is preparing for a fresh explosion of Palestinian violence when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' term in office comes to an end on January 9, reported The Jerusalem Post.
Abbas has not scheduled new elections, nor have any candidates presented themselves or started campaigning.
According to the Palestinian Authority constitution, if elections are not held the speaker or deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament will become the new president. Both men are members of Hamas, which scored a landslide victory in the 2006 parliamentary election.
The assumption of power by Hamas in the de facto Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah would likely result in civil war between Hamas and Abbas' Fatah movement, much like the short, but brutal Hamas coup in Gaza last year. It is expected that such a conflict would quickly spill over into Israel and Jewish-populated areas of Judea and Samaria.
Palestinian media reported this week that Abbas intends to dissolve the current Palestinian parliament in the coming months and declare an emergency government when his term expires.
That would give Abbas another year in office, but would also likely lead to internecine violence where both sides would look to score points by carrying out successful attacks against Israel even as they battle each other.