Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas was hospitalized in Ramallah and underwent tests including a cardiac catheterization Thursday evening, after which he was released. Abbas went to the hospital for tests after feeling tired and complaining of chest pains. Cardiac catheterizationis a procedure used to diagnose and treat cardiovascular conditions. A long thin tube is inserted in an artery or vein in the groin, neck or arm and threaded through the blood vessels to the heart. The process is usually performed as an outpatient procedure with the patient medicated but awake.
Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, is 81-years-old, overweight, and a heavy smoker with a history of health issues. He has rarely been seen in public lately, but last week he attended the funeral of Israeli statesman, Shimon Peres, at which he created a stir by shaking hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Abbas claimed that Netanyahu refuses to meet for negotiations, while Netanyahu claims it is Abbas that insists upon unacceptable pre-conditions, such as Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.
He succeeded Yaaser Arafat as Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in 2004, and was elected to a five year term as Palestinian Authority President in 2005, but no elections have been held since. His term in office has been plagued by frequent accusations of corruption and a 2012 debate in congress labelled his administration a “Kleptocracy”, after kleptomania, the psychological ailment characterized by compulsive theft. He has formed several alliances with Hamas, who now rule in Gaza, but these coalitions have not lasted. Abbas is a Holocaust denier, and his doctoral thesis at a university in Russia claimed the claim that six million Jews were killed by the Nazis was “greatly exaggerated” as part of a “Zionist plot”.