Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority
on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah
(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.
This is a deal reached between Sharon and Bush. We knew nothing about it. It shocked us.
Of course we need dialogue with Hamas and [Islamic] Jihad. I believe that we can reach an understanding.
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.
Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority
on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah
(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
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
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 ArafatAbbas was born in Safed
. He and his family fled to Syria
during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
. He graduated from the University of Damascus
before going to Egypt
where he studied law.
Abbas later entered graduate studies at the Patrice Lumumba University
, where he earned a Candidate of Sciences degree (the Soviet equivalent of a PhD
). 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
He is married to Amina Abbas and they have had three sons. The eldest, Mazen Abbas, ran a building company in Doha
and died in Qatar
of a heart attack in 2002 at the age of 42. The kunya
of Abu Mazen means "father of Mazen". Their second son is Yasser Abbas
, a Canadian businessman who was named after former PA leader Yasser Arafat
. The youngest son is Tareq, a business executive.
, founded by Yasser Arafat and a number 5 of other Palestinians in Kuwait
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
, who planned the 1972 Munich Massacre
, the hostage-taking of members of the Israeli team at the Munich Olympic Games
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
after the Gulf War
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).
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
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
. 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 electionAfter 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
, 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.
PresidencyDespite 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
, and the Popular Resistance Committees
launched a suicide attack on the Karni crossing
, 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
in a ceremony held on 15 January in the West Bank
town of Ramallah
On 9 August 2005 he announced that legislative elections
, 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
from voting. Hamas won a majority of votes in this vote.
Relations with IsraelOn 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
. 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
and met with his American counterpart, George W. Bush
. Bush, in return for Abbas' crackdown on terrorists, pledged 50 million USD
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
pledged 9.5 million CAD
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
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
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 crisisOn 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
On 2 June, Abbas again announced that if Hamas did not approve the prisoners' document
—which calls for a two-state solution
to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
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
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.
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
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
. 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
, 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
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
. 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
, Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council
has become acting president.
Relations with foreign leadersIn 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
and Prime Minister Stephen Harper
In February 2010, Abbas visited Japan for the third time as Palestinian President. In this visit he met Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama
. He also visited Hiroshima
, 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 bookThe 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
, and defended at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Soviet Academy of Sciences
. 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
as "the Zionist fantasy, the fantastic lie that six million Jews were killed."
The dissertation and book discussed topics such as the Haavara Agreement
, 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.
- "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 PalestinePalestinian territoriesThe 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 LebanonLebanonLebanon , 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 AlgeriaAlgeriaAlgeria , 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 jihadJihadJihad , 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 withdrawalIsrael's unilateral disengagement planIsrael'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 AirportYasser Arafat International AirportYasser 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 HolinessHis HolinessHis 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 BethlehemBethlehemBethlehem 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 PopePopeThe 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 XVIPope Benedict XVIBenedict 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 flagPalestinian flagThe 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, minaretMinaretA 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."
- 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.comMsnbc.commsnbc.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 NewsBBC NewsBBC 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
- Abbas: No Force Against Arab Militants, APAssociated PressThe 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 NewsweekNewsweekNewsweek 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 NewsBBC NewsBBC 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 SpiegelDer SpiegelDer 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, CNNCNNCable 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)