Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas

Overview
Mahmoud Abbas also known by the kunya
Kunya (Arabic)
A kunya is a teknonym, the name of an adult derived from their child, especially their eldest son, in Arabic names.A kunya is expressed by the use of abū or umm in a genitive construction, i.e "father of" or "mother of" as a honorific in place of or alongside given names in the Arab world and the...

 Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority
President of the Palestinian National Authority
The President of the Palestinian National Authority is the highest-ranking political position in the Palestinian National Authority ....

 on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 (فتح Fataḥ) ticket.

Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally extended his term for another year and continues in office even after that second deadline expired.
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Quotations

This is a deal reached between Sharon and Bush. We knew nothing about it. It shocked us.

On the Gaza withdrawal

Of course we need dialogue with Hamas and [Islamic] Jihad. I believe that we can reach an understanding.

On the Gaza withdrawal

We have at least 12 security apparatuses that cannot be controlled by anybody.

I don't have any relationship with the chairman from the resignation to this day.

Encyclopedia
Mahmoud Abbas also known by the kunya
Kunya (Arabic)
A kunya is a teknonym, the name of an adult derived from their child, especially their eldest son, in Arabic names.A kunya is expressed by the use of abū or umm in a genitive construction, i.e "father of" or "mother of" as a honorific in place of or alongside given names in the Arab world and the...

 Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority
President of the Palestinian National Authority
The President of the Palestinian National Authority is the highest-ranking political position in the Palestinian National Authority ....

 on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 (فتح Fataḥ) ticket.

Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally extended his term for another year and continues in office even after that second deadline expired. As a result of this, Fatah's main rival, the political party Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 announced that it would not recognise the extension or view Abbas as rightful president. Abbas was chosen as the President of the State of Palestine
State of Palestine
Palestine , officially declared as the State of Palestine , is a state that was proclaimed in exile in Algiers on 15 November 1988, when the Palestine Liberation Organization's National Council adopted the unilateral Palestinian Declaration of Independence...

 by the Palestine Liberation Organisation's Central Council on 23 November 2008, a job he had held unofficially since 8 May 2005.
Abbas served as the first Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority from March to October 2003 when he resigned citing lack of support from Israel and the United States as well as "internal incitement" against his government. Before being named prime minister, Abbas led the PLO's Negotiations Affairs Department.

Biography prior to the death of Yasser Arafat


Abbas was born in Safed
Safed
Safed , is a city in the Northern District of Israel. Located at an elevation of , Safed is the highest city in the Galilee and of Israel. Due to its high elevation, Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters...

 in Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

. He and his family fled to Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

. He graduated from the University of Damascus
University of Damascus
The University of Damascus is the largest and oldest university in Syria, located in the capital Damascus and has campuses in other Syrian cities. It was founded in 1923 through the merger of the School of Medicine and the Institute of Law , also making it the oldest university in modern-day Syria...

 before going to Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 where he studied law.

Abbas later entered graduate studies at the Patrice Lumumba University
Peoples' Friendship University of Russia
The Peoples' Friendship University of Russia is an educational and research institution located in the South of Moscow and is ranked by the Ministry of Education of Russia as the country's third-best university after Moscow State University and Saint Petersburg State University...

 in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, where he earned a Candidate of Sciences degree (the Soviet equivalent of a PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

). The theme of his doctoral dissertation was "The Other Side: The secret relations between Nazism and the leadership of the Zionist movement". His supervising professor was Yevgeny Primakov
Yevgeny Primakov
Yevgeny Maksimovich Primakov is a Russian politician and diplomat. During his long career, he served as the Russian Foreign Minister, Prime Minister of Russia, Speaker of the Soviet of the Union of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, and chief of intelligence service...

.

He is married to Amina Abbas and they have had three sons. The eldest, Mazen Abbas, ran a building company in Doha
Doha
Doha is the capital city of the state of Qatar. Located on the Persian Gulf, it had a population of 998,651 in 2008, and is also one of the municipalities of Qatar...

 and died in Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

 of a heart attack in 2002 at the age of 42. The kunya
Kunya (Arabic)
A kunya is a teknonym, the name of an adult derived from their child, especially their eldest son, in Arabic names.A kunya is expressed by the use of abū or umm in a genitive construction, i.e "father of" or "mother of" as a honorific in place of or alongside given names in the Arab world and the...

 of Abu Mazen means "father of Mazen". Their second son is Yasser Abbas
Yasser Abbas
Yasser Abbas is a Palestinian Canadian businessman and the son of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He was named in honor of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.-References:...

, a Canadian businessman who was named after former PA leader Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

. The youngest son is Tareq, a business executive.

In the mid-1950s, Abbas became heavily involved in underground Palestinian politics, joining a number of exiled Palestinians in Qatar, where he was Director of Personnel in the emirate's Civil Service. While there, in 1961, he was recruited to become a member of Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

, founded by Yasser Arafat and a number 5 of other Palestinians in Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 in the late 1950s. At the time, Arafat was establishing the groundwork of Fatah by enlisting wealthy Palestinians in Qatar, Kuwait, and other Gulf States
Arab states of the Persian Gulf
"Arab states of the Persian Gulf" or "Arab Persian Gulf states" or "Persian Gulf Arab states" or "Arabic Persian Gulf states" or "Arab States of The Gulf", are terms that refer to the six Arab states of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, bordering the Persian Gulf....

.

Abu Daoud
Abu Daoud
Mohammad Daoud Oudeh , commonly known by his nom de guerre Abu Daoud or Abu Dawud was a Palestinian militant known as the planner, architect and mastermind of the Munich massacre...

, who planned the 1972 Munich Massacre
Munich massacre
The Munich massacre is an informal name for events that occurred during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Bavaria in southern West Germany, when members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually killed by the Palestinian group Black September. Members of Black September...

, the hostage-taking of members of the Israeli team at the Munich Olympic Games
1972 Summer Olympics
The 1972 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XX Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Munich, West Germany, from August 26 to September 11, 1972....

 which ended with the murder of eleven Israeli athletes and coaches and a West German policeman, wrote that funds for the operation were provided by Abbas, though without knowing what the money would be used for.

At the same time he has performed diplomatic duties, presenting a moderating face for PLO policies. Abbas was the first PLO official to visit Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 after the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 in January 1993 to mend fences with the Gulf countries for the PLO's support of Iraq during the Persian Gulf War. At the 1993 peace accord with Israel, Abbas was the signatory for the PLO on 13 September 1993. He published a memoir, Through Secret Channels: The Road to Oslo (1995).

Prime minister


By early 2003, as both Israel and the United States had indicated their refusal to negotiate with Yasser Arafat, Abbas began to emerge as a candidate for a more visible leadership role. As one of the few remaining founding members of Fatah, he had some degree of credibility within the Palestinian cause, and his candidacy was bolstered by the fact that other high-profile Palestinians were for various reasons not suitable (the most notable, Marwan Barghouthi, was under arrest in an Israeli jail after being convicted of multiple murders). Abbas's reputation as a pragmatist garnered him favor with the West and certain elements of the Palestinian legislature, and pressure was soon brought on Arafat to appoint him prime minister. Arafat did so on 19 March 2003. Initially, Arafat attempted to undermine the post of prime minister, but was eventually forced to give Abbas some degree of power.

However, the rest of Abbas's term as prime minister continued to be characterised by numerous conflicts between him and Arafat over the distribution of power between the two. Abbas had often hinted he would resign if not given more control over the administration. In early September 2003, he confronted the Palestinian parliament over this issue. The United States and Israel accused Arafat of constantly undermining Abbas and his government.

In addition, Abbas came into conflict with Palestinian militant groups, notably the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement and Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 because his pragmatic policies were opposed to their hard-line approach. However, he made it perfectly clear that he was forced to abandon, for the moment, the use of arms against Israeli civilians inside the green line due to its ineffectiveness.

Initially he pledged not to use force against the militants, in the interest of avoiding a civil war, and instead attempted negotiation. This was partially successful, resulting in a pledge from the two groups to honor a unilateral Palestinian cease-fire. However, continuing violence and Israeli "target killings" of known leaders forced Abbas to pledge a crackdown in order to uphold the Palestinian Authority's side of the Road map for peace
Road map for peace
The roadmap for peace or "road map" for peace is a plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict proposed by a "quartet" of international entities: the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations. The principles of the plan, originally drafted by U.S. Foreign Service...

. This led to a power struggle with Arafat over control of the Palestinian security services; Arafat refused to release control to Abbas, thus preventing him from using them on the militants.

Abbas resigned as prime minister in October 2003, citing lack of support from Israel and the United States as well as "internal incitement" against his government.

2005 presidential election



After Yasser Arafat's death Mahmoud Abbas was seen, at least by Fatah, as his natural successor.

On 25 November 2004, Abbas was endorsed by Fatah's Revolutionary Council as its preferred candidate for the presidential election
Palestinian presidential election, 2005
The 2005 Palestinian presidential election — the first to be held since 1996 — took place on January 9, 2005 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Voters elected PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas as the new President of the Palestinian Authority to replace Yasser Arafat, who died on November 11,...

, scheduled for 9 January 2005.

On 14 December Abbas called for an end to violence in the Second Intifada and a return to peaceful resistance. Abbas told the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that "the use of arms has been damaging and should end". However, he refused to disarm Palestinian militants and use force against groups that Israel, the United States and the European Union designated as terrorist organisations.

With Israeli forces arresting and restricting the movement of other candidates, Hamas' boycott of the election, and his campaign being given 94% of the Palestinian electoral campaign coverage on TV, Abbas' election was virtually ensured, and on 9 January Abbas was elected with 62% of the vote as President of the Palestinian National Authority.

In his speech, he addressed a crowd of supporters chanting "a million shahids", stating: "I present this victory to the soul of Yasser Arafat and present it to our people, to our martyrs and to 11,000 prisoners". He also called for Palestinian groups to end the use of arms against Israelis.

Presidency


Despite Abbas' call for a peaceful solution, attacks by militant groups continued after his election, in a direct challenge to his authority. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement launched a raid in Gaza on 12 January that killed one and wounded three military personnel in Gaza. On 13 January Palestinians from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades
Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades
The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades is a coalition of Palestinian nationalist militias in the West Bank. The group's name refers to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem...

, Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

, and the Popular Resistance Committees
Popular Resistance Committees
The Popular Resistance Committees are a coalition of various armed Palestinian factions that oppose the conciliatory approach adopted by the Palestinian Authority and Fatah towards Israel...

 launched a suicide attack on the Karni crossing
Karni crossing
The Karni Crossing is a cargo terminal on the Israel-Gaza Strip barrier. It is located in the north-eastern end of the Gaza Strip and was opened in 1994 after the signing of the Oslo Accords, in order to allow Palestinian merchants to export and import goods...

, killing six Israelis. As a result, Israel shut down the damaged terminal and broke off relations with Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, stating that Abbas must now show a gesture of peace by attempting to stop such attacks.

Abbas was formally sworn in as the Chairman of the Palestinian National Authority
President of the Palestinian National Authority
The President of the Palestinian National Authority is the highest-ranking political position in the Palestinian National Authority ....

 in a ceremony held on 15 January in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 town of Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

.

On 9 August 2005 he announced that legislative elections
Palestinian legislative election, 2006
On January 25, 2006, elections were held for the Palestinian Legislative Council , the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority . Notwithstanding the 2005 municipal elections and the January 9, 2005 presidential election, this was the first election to the PLC since 1996; subsequent...

, originally scheduled for 17 July, would take place in January 2006. On 15 January 2006 he declared that despite unrest in Gaza, he would not change the set date of the elections (25 January), unless Israel decided to prevent Palestinians in East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 from voting. Hamas won a majority of votes in this vote.

Relations with Israel


On 23 January 2006, Israeli radio reported that Abbas had secured a thirty-day ceasefire from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. On 12 February lone Palestinians attacked Israel settlements and Abbas quickly fired some of his security officers for not stopping the attacks in a ceasefire.

On 9 April 2006, Abbas said that the killing of three Palestinians in southern Gaza by Israeli soldiers is a deliberate violation of the declared ceasefire deal. "This violation is made on purpose," Abbas said in a written statement sent to reporters in the West Bank capital of Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

. Abbas made the statement shortly after three Palestinian teenage boys were shot dead by Israeli troops in the southern Gaza town of Rafah. Israel claimed they thought the boys were attempting to smuggle weapons, while Palestinians claimed a group of boys were playing soccer and three of them went to retrieve the ball near the border fence.

In response to the teens' deaths, Abbas said, "The Palestinian National Authority will not turn a blind eye to the shedding of the blood of our people and our children. We can never accept opening fire at our children who pose no danger at all." Abbas said the Palestinian children "are as precious to their parents as the Israeli children to their parents." Condemning the Israeli shooting as "unjustified", Abbas urged Israel to take serious actions to show commitment to the truce.

In May 2006, Abbas travelled to the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 and met with his American counterpart, George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

. Bush, in return for Abbas' crackdown on terrorists, pledged 50 million USD
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

 in aid to the Palestinian Authority and reiterated the US pledge for a free Palestinian state. It was the first direct aid the United States has given to them, as previous donations have gone through non-governmental organizations. The next day Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...

 Paul Martin
Paul Martin
Paul Edgar Philippe Martin, PC , also known as Paul Martin, Jr. is a Canadian politician who was the 21st Prime Minister of Canada, as well as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada....

 of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 pledged 9.5 million CAD
Canadian dollar
The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

 in new aid for judicial reform and housing projects, monitors for the coming Palestinian elections, border management and scholarships for Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon.

On 25 July 2006 he announced that he would move his office to Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 until the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops in order to coordinate the Palestinian side of the withdrawal, mediating between the different factions.

Abbas has been called the most "courageous" pro-peace senior leader the Palestinians ever had. Ephraim Sneh, a former minister in the Israeli cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

 wrote that on April 19, 2006, following the elections in Israeli but before Ehud Olmert was sworn in, he met with Abbas and Abbas requested that negotiations resume immediately with the new Israeli government and that he be put in touch right away with a contact person to be appointed by the prime minister. Sneh reported that he immediately conveyed the substance of their meeting to the prime minister's office, but the prime minister had no interest in the matter.

Fatah-Hamas conflict and Gaza crisis



On 16 January 2006, Abbas said that he would not run for office again at the end of his current term.

On 25 May, Abbas gave Hamas a ten-day deadline to accept the 1967 ceasefire lines
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

.

On 2 June, Abbas again announced that if Hamas did not approve the prisoners' document
Palestinian Prisoners' Document
The "Prisoners' Document," officially the National Reconciliation Document, is a document written in 2006 by Palestinian prisoners who were being held in Israeli jails at the time...

—which calls for a two-state solution
Two-state solution
The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the consensus solution that is currently under discussion by the key parties to the conflict, most recently at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007...

 to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Israeli–Palestinian conflict
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

 according to the 1967 borders—within two days, he would present the initiative as a referendum. This deadline was subsequently extended until 10 June 2006. Hamas spokesmen stated that a change in their stance would not occur, and that Abbas is not constitutionally permitted to call a referendum, especially so soon after the January elections.

Abbas warned Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 on 8 October 2006 that he would call new legislative elections if it did not accept a coalition government. To recognize Israel was a condition he has presented for a coalition. But it was not clear if Abbas had the power to call new elections.

On 16 December 2006, Abbas called for new legislative elections, to bring an end to the parliamentary stalemate between Fatah and Hamas in forming a national coalition government.

On 17 March 2007, a unity government
Palestinian government of March 2007
The Palestinian national unity government formed on March 17, 2007 was a Palestinian cabinet headed by Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, founded following Saudi-sponsored negotiations in Mecca. On June 14 2007, Following the Hamas military takeover of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian President...

 was formed incorporating members of both Hamas and Fatah, with Ismail Haniyeh as Prime Minister and independent politicians taking many key portfolios.

On 14 June 2007, Abbas dissolved the Hamas-led unity government of Haniyeh, declared a state of emergency, and appointed Salam Fayyad
Salam Fayyad
Salam Fayyad is a Palestinian politician and Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority of the Palestinian National Authority. His first appointment, on 15 June 2007, which was justified by President Mahmoud Abbas on the basis of "national emergency", has not been confirmed by the...

 in his place. This followed action by Hamas armed forces to take control of Palestinian Authority positions controlled by Fatah militias. The appointment of Fayyad to replace Haniyeh has been challenged as illegal, because under the Palestinian Basic Law, the president may dismiss a sitting prime minister, but may not appoint a replacement without the approval of the Palestinian Legislative Council
Palestinian Legislative Council
The Palestinian Legislative Council, the legislature of the Palestinian Authority, is a unicameral body with 132 members, elected from 16 electoral districts in the West Bank and Gaza...

. According to the law, until a new prime minister is thus appointed, the outgoing prime minister heads a caretaker government. Fayyad's appointment was never placed before, or approved by the Legislative Council. For this reason, Haniyeh the Hamas prime minister has continued to operate in Gaza
Governance of the Gaza Strip
The Gaza Strip is controlled by Hamas after Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006 and ousted Fatah officials as part of the Battle of Gaza . Hamas' political and military rival, Fatah, controls the West Bank. Both regimes regard themselves as the sole legitimate...

, and is recognised by a large number of Palestinians as the legitimate acting prime minister. Anis al-Qasem, a constitutional lawyer who drafted the Basic Law, is among those who publicly declared Abbas' appointment of Fayyad to be illegal.

On 18 June 2007, the European Union promised to resume direct aid to the Palestinian Authority, Abbas dissolved the National Security Council, a sticking point in the defunct unity government with Hamas. That same day, the United States decided to end its fifteen-month embargo on the Palestinian Authority and resume aid, attempting to strengthen Abbas's West Bank government. A day later, the Fatah Central Committee cut off all ties and dialogue with Hamas, pending the return of Gaza.

On 2 March 2008, Abbas stated he was suspending peace talks with Israel, while Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

 vowed to press on with military operations against militants who have been launching home-made rockets into southern Israel.

On 20 May 2008, Abbas stated he would resign from his office if the current round of peace talks had not yielded an agreement in principle "within six months". He also stated that the current negotiations were, in effect, deadlocked: "So far, we have not reached an agreement on any issue. Any report indicating otherwise is simply not true."

On 9 January 2009, Abbas term as president, at least as he was originally elected, ended. Abbas extended his term for another year, stating the Basic Law gave him the right to do so, so he could align the next presidential and parliamentary elections
Next Palestinian general election
A presidential and parliamentary election to the Palestinian National Authority is intended to be held within a year after May 4, 2011. The elections has been postponed because of intra-Palestinian political disputes between Fatah and Hamas following the Gaza...

. Pointing to the Palestinian constitution, Hamas disputes the validity of this move, and considers Abbas' term to have ended, in which case Abdel Aziz Duwaik
Abdel Aziz Duwaik
Aziz Duwaik has been the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council since his election to that post on 18 January 2006. He was imprisoned in Israel on 6 August 2006 on charges of being a member of Hamas, but he was released on 22 June 2009...

, Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council
Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council
The Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council is the chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council. As Chairman, the Speaker replaces the President of the Palestinian National Authority if the latter is unable to perform their role...

 has become acting president.

Relations with foreign leaders


In May 2009, he welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to the West Bank, who supported Abbas' goal of a Palestinian State.

Also in May of 2009, Abbas made a visit to Canada, where he met with foreign affairs minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs (Canada)
The Minister of Foreign Affairs is the Minister of the Crown in the Canadian Cabinet who is responsible for overseeing the federal government's international relations section of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada....

 Lawrence Cannon
Lawrence Cannon
Lawrence Cannon, PC is a Canadian politician from Quebec and Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former Quebec lieutenant. On October 30, 2008 he was sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs...

 and Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...

.

In February 2010, Abbas visited Japan for the third time as Palestinian President. In this visit he met Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama
Yukio Hatoyama
is a Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan between 16 September 2009 and 2 June 2010, and was the first ever Prime Minister from the modern Democratic Party of Japan....

. He also visited Hiroshima
Hiroshima
is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It became best known as the first city in history to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on it at 8:15 A.M...

, the first such visit by a Palestinian leader, and spoke about the suffering of Hiroshima, which he compared to the suffering of the Palestinians.

Doctoral dissertation and book



The Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement 1933 - 1945 is the title of Mahmoud Abbas' CandSc thesis, completed in 1982 at the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia
Peoples' Friendship University of Russia
The Peoples' Friendship University of Russia is an educational and research institution located in the South of Moscow and is ranked by the Ministry of Education of Russia as the country's third-best university after Moscow State University and Saint Petersburg State University...

, and defended at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Soviet Academy of Sciences
Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences , formerly Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences, is Russia's leading research institution for the study of the countries and cultures of Asia and North Africa...

. In 1984 it was published as a book in Arabic titled "The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism" (Arabic: al-Wajh al-Akhar: al-'Alaqat as-Sirriya bayna an-Naziya wa's-Sihyuniya).

In the doctoral thesis and book, Abbas describes the Nazi Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 as "the Zionist fantasy, the fantastic lie that six million Jews were killed."

The dissertation and book discussed topics such as the Haavara Agreement
Haavara Agreement
The Haavara Agreement was signed on 25 August 1933 after three months of talks by the Zionist Federation of Germany , the Anglo-Palestine Bank and the economic authorities of Nazi Germany...

, by which the Third Reich agreed with the Jewish Agency to facilitate Jewish emigration to Palestine. Some content of his thesis has been considered as Holocaust denial by critics, especially the parts disputing the accepted number of deaths in the Holocaust as well as the accusations that Zionist agitation was the cause of the Holocaust a charge that he denies.

Quotes

  • "The Arab armies entered Palestine to protect the Palestinians from the Zionist tyranny but, instead, they abandoned them, forced them to emigrate and to leave their homeland, and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which the Jews used to live in Eastern Europe, as if we were condemned to change places with them: they moved out of their ghettos and we occupied similar ones." (1976)
  • "There is absolutely no substitution for dialogue." (2003)
  • "The armed struggle necessitates certain conditions and opportunities that do not exist for us in Palestine
    Palestinian territories
    The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

    . We cannot equate what is happening in Palestine with what is going on Lebanon
    Lebanon
    Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

     or Algeria
    Algeria
    Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

    . Therefore, military activities under these circumstances and means are ineffective. For this reason, we stated that we have no choice but to stop it [military activities] for a year, which is not a submission from our point of view. As long as the circumstances are not equivalent." (A-Sharq Al-Awsat, 3 March 2003)
  • "The little jihad
    Jihad
    Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

     is over, and now we have the bigger jihad - the bigger battle is achieving security and economic growth" (2005)
  • "From here [the Gaza withdrawal
    Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
    Israel's unilateral disengagement plan , also known as the "Disengagement plan", "Gaza expulsion plan", and "Hitnatkut", was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005, to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from...

    ], our people begin the march towards establishing an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital"
  • "Today we are visitors to the airport (referring to Yasser Arafat International Airport
    Yasser Arafat International Airport
    Yasser Arafat International Airport , formerly Gaza International Airport and Dahaniya International Airport, is located in the Gaza Strip, in Rafah close to the Egyptian border....

    ), tomorrow we will come here as travellers." (19 August 2005)
  • His Holiness
    His Holiness
    His Holiness is the official style or manner of address in reference to the leaders of certain religious groups. In Christianity, specifically the Orthodox Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church, Armenian Orthodox Church, Syriac Orthodox Church, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Roman Catholic...

     was moved to receive this accolade from the people of Bethlehem and paid special attention to the message of the passport.” On giving the Bethlehem
    Bethlehem
    Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

     Passport to Pope
    Pope
    The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

     Benedict XVI
    Pope Benedict XVI
    Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

    . The citation refers to "all people who uphold a just and open society."
  • "I renew my commitment to continuing the road he [Arafat] began and for which he made a lot of sacrifices, until the Palestinian flag
    Palestinian flag
    The Palestinian flag is based on the Flag of the Arab Revolt, and is used to represent the Palestinian people , and the Palestinian Authority.-Description:...

     flies from the walls, minaret
    Minaret
    A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

    s and churches of Jerusalem." (2005)
  • "A Jewish state, what is that supposed to mean? You can call yourselves as you like, but I don't accept it and I say so publicly."(April 27, 2009)
  • "I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land"
  • "Zionist forces expelled the Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued" (2011).
  • "We go to the United Nations now to secure the right to live free in the remaining 22 percent of our historic homeland because we have been negotiating with the State of Israel for 20 years without coming any closer to realizing a state of our own. "
  • "It [the Arab rejection of the 1947 UN Partition Plan to divide Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state] was our mistake. It was an Arab mistake as a whole."

External links


  • Mahmoud Abbas' speech at UN; A bid for a Palestinian State
  • Mahmoud Abbas collected news and commentary at The Electronic Intifada
  • Mahmoud Abbas collected news and commentary at MSNBC.com
    Msnbc.com
    msnbc.com is a news website owned and operated as a joint venture by NBCUniversal and Microsoft.In addition to original content from its news staff, msnbc.com is the news website for the NBC News family, with content from the cable television news channel MSNBC, NBC shows such as Today, NBC Nightly...

  • Profile: Mahmoud Abbas, BBC News
    BBC News
    BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

    , 5 November 2009

Articles
  • Abbas: No Force Against Arab Militants, AP
    Associated Press
    The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

     (9 June 2003)
  • Someone Was Going to Kill Newsweek
    Newsweek
    Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

     Interview of Mahmoud Abbas (21 June 2004)
  • Palestinian Head Meets Barghouti, BBC News
    BBC News
    BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

     (26 November 2004)
  • I Don't Have a Magic Wand, Der Spiegel
    Der Spiegel
    Der Spiegel is a German weekly news magazine published in Hamburg. It is one of Europe's largest publications of its kind, with a weekly circulation of more than one million.-Overview:...

     (21 February 2005)
  • Bush pledges $50 million to Palestinian Authority, CNN
    CNN
    Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

     (26 May 2005)
  • Chairman Abbas' address to the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (26 September 2008)