During Yasser Arafat’s long tenure as the head of the PLO, Mahmoud Abbas, who was his deputy, wasn’t always happy with the decisions taken by the leader. A depressed and unhappy Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, would sometimes disappear for months, often in Morocco. The act is often referred to in Arabic as “harad” — the nearest translation to it according to Google Translate is “sulk”. It is the same term used for unhappy wives who go to their parents’ home for a few months as an act of protest against certain unacceptable acts of their husbands.
As in many marital cases, Abu Mazen would usually return after the initial anger had gone — often with the help of a trusted friend or a senior member of the leadership — and things would return to normal between the two senior leaders, until the next time, Arafat would do something, as he often did, without consulting senior members of the leadership.
All this was possible as long as Abbas was the number two man in the leadership. While his absence was felt, it was not a catastrophe. However, as president of the Palestinian government and chairman of the PLO, Abu Mazen doesn’t have the luxury he had when he was the number two man. He can’t simply sulk or go away to Morocco for a few months.