|President of the State of Palestine|
23 November 2008
Acting since 8 May 2005
|President of the Palestinian National Authority|
15 January 2005
|Prime Minister||Ahmad Qurei
Nabil Shaath (Acting)
|Preceded by||Rawhi Fattouh (Acting)|
|Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization|
29 October 2004
Acting: 29 October 2004 – 11 November 2004
|Preceded by||Yasser Arafat|
|Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority|
19 March 2003 – 6 September 2003
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Succeeded by||Ahmad Qurei|
26 March 1935 |
Safed, British Palestine
|Alma mater||Damascus University
Patrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship University
|*Abbas's term as President expired 15 January 2009, since then Aziz Duwaik has been recognised as President by the Haniyeh government in the Gaza Strip, while Abbas is recognised as President by the Fayyad government in the West Bank and all the states that recognise the independence of Palestine, as well as the UN.|
Mahmoud Abbas (Arabic: مَحْمُود عَبَّاس, Maḥmūd ʿAbbās; born 26 March 1935), also known by the kunya Abu Mazen (Arabic: أَبُو مَازِن, 'Abū Māzin), an Arab of the Sunni-Muslim faith, has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah (فتح Fataḥ) ticket.
Mahmoud Abbas was elected to serve until 9 January 2009, due to Palestinian Internal conflict 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, 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 Organization'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.
Mahmoud Abbas was born in Safed in Galilee. His family fled to Syria during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Abbas graduated from the University of Damascus before going to Egypt where he studied law.
Abbas later entered graduate studies at the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, 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 Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism".
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.
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, founded by Yasser Arafat and 5 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.
Abu Daoud, 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.
He was among the first members of Fatah to call for talks with moderate Israelis, doing so in 1977. In a 2012 interview he recalled: "[...] because we took up arms, we were in a position to put them down with credibility".
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).
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
By early 2003, as Israel and the United States refused 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 Barghouti, 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 was characterised by numerous conflicts between him and Arafat over the distribution of power. Abbas 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 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 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 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 election
|Part of a series on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict
and Arab–Israeli conflict
Major projects, groups and NGOs
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, 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 designated as terrorist organizations.
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.
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 in Palestine 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, Hamas, 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.
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 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. 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 Paul Martin of Canada 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.
Efraim Sneh, a former minister in the Israeli cabinet, has called Abbas the most "courageous partner we have had." He wrote that on 19 April 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 was told that the prime minister had no interest in the matter. Despite this, Sneh mentions that the Annapolis Conference convened a year and a half later, and that in September 2008, Prime Minister Olmert and Abbas came to understandings that would lead to an actual agreement.
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.
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.
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. Abbas remains as the president even though his one year extended term has expired.
Relations with foreign leaders
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.
In July 2012, Abbas accused former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of fabricating a conversation between them and denied that such a conversation took place. The specific quote he denied was, "I can’t tell four million Palestinians that only five thousand of them can go home," regarding the issue of Palestinian refugees. Abbas further said, "I’m not calling her a liar... I am saying that we never had that conversation." In response, Rice denied that she fabricated it, as her chief of staff Georgia Godfrey wrote, "Dr. Rice stands by her account of the conversation and what she wrote in her 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, 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).
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, in conjunction with the UK and was never a secret at all. 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. However, in 2013 he reasserted the veracity of the contents of his thesis, that "the Zionist movement had ties with the Nazis".
- Through Secret Channels (1995) Memoirs of the Oslo agreement
- PLO body elects Abbas 'president of Palestine', AFP (23 November 2008): “I announce that the PLO Central Council has elected Mahmud Abbas president of the State of Palestine. He takes on this role from this day, November 23, 2008,” the body’s chairman Salem al-Zaanun told reporters.
- PLO asks Mahmud Abbas to be acting president of "state of Palestine", Al-Jazeera TV, Doha (8 May 2005): "The PLO Executive Committee has decided to ask [President] Mahmud Abbas to carry out the duties of the president of the state of Palestine until the PLO Central Council [PCC] is convened."
- "World's Baha'i connect with past in Israel". WorldWide Religious News. 27 November 2006. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
- "Hamas Says Dweik 'Real President' until Elections are Held". Al-Manar. 25 June 2006. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
- Abbas no longer president/UPI-19361231560412/ Hamas: Abbas no longer president, UPI (9 January 2009)
- Abbas planning to extend his own term The Jerusalem Post (14 December 2008]
- Hamas: Abbas no longer heads PA The Jerusalem Post (9 January 2009)
- PLO body elects Abbas 'president of Palestine', AFP (23 November 2008)
- PLO asks Mahmud Abbas to be acting president of "state of Palestine", Al-Jazeera TV, Doha (8 May 2005)
- Palestinian prime minister Abbas resigns (CNN)
- Sela, Avraham. "Abbas, Mahmud The Continuum Political Encyclopedia of the Middle East. Ed. Sela. New York: Continuum, 2002. p. 11
- Аббас на глиняных ногах (Abbas on the feet of clay), Kommersant-Vlast No. 2(605), 17 January 2005) (Russian)
- David Seddon (2004). A political and economic dictionary of the Middle East. Taylor & Francis. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-1-85743-212-1. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
- "Eldest son of PLO no. 2 dies". Al Bawaba. 16 June 2002. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
- Abu Toameh, Khaled. "PA officials scandalized at disclosure by Abbas's son of vast personal fortune". The Jerusalem Post. 16 April 2009.
- Gowers, Andrew; Tony Walker (1991). Behind the Myth: Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Revolution. Interlink Pub Group Inc. p. 65. ISBN 0-940793-86-5.
- "Thirty years after he helped plan the terror strike, Abu Daoud remains in hiding -- and unrepentant". CNN. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- The Stateless Statesman (Time Magazine) 15 October 2012
- US foiled - 14 October 2003
- Book published by Garnet Publishing, United Kingdom.
- Final Report on Monitoring the Presidential Palestinian Elections (Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies) 1 January 2005
- Abbas achieves landslide poll win BBC. 10 January 2005
- Abbas: Palestinian polls on schedule (Aljazeera) 15 January 2006
- Israeli troops kill Palestinian teenagers (Aljazeera) 10 April 2005
- Canada pledges aid to Abbas (Aljazeera) 28 May 2005
- Abbas moves to Gaza for pullout (BBC) 25 July 2005
- Haaretz, 2009 Nov 8, Ephraim Sneh, "The Partner Who Had No Partner: The Conduct of Abbas, the Most Courageous Partner We Have Had, Is in Large Measure a By-Product of Our Missed Opportunities," http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/the-partner-who-had-no-partner-1.4591
- Abbas 'will not be leader again' (BBC) 16 January 2006
- Palestinian president calls for early elections (CNN) 16 December 2006
- Whose Coup Exactly?, The Electronic Intifada, 18 June 2007
- Opinion of lawyer who drafted Palestinian law, Reuters, 8 July 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2007
- "Abbas dissolves Palestinian National Security Council, rallying international support". International Herald Tribune. Associated Press. 18 June 2007.
- U.S. ends embargo on Palestinian Authority in move to bolster Fatah (International Herald Tribune) 19 June 2007
- Fatah's leadership decides to cut off all contacts with Hamas (IHT/AP) 19 June 2007
- Abbas suspends peace talks with Israel (CNN/AP) 2 March 2008
- Analysis: The Palestinians' trump card - UPI.com
- Hamas: Abbas no longer president, UPI (9 January 2009)
- Abbas planning to extend his own term Jerusalem Post (14 December 2008)
- Abbas should change his locks before next wave of Palestinian prisoners freed, Haaretz
- Pope calls for Palestinian state
- "President of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas visits Hiroshima"
- "In memoir, Rice says 'historic peace' nearly reached". Ma'an News Agency. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- "Rice: I thought peace was within reach". Yedioth Ahronot. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- Kayla, Adams (7 July 2012). "Abbas accuses Rice of fabricating crucial conversation about Olmert’s peace offer". The Times of Israel.
- Ahren, Raphael (11 July 2012). "Rebutting Abbas, Condoleezza Rice confirms her account of their 2008 refugee conversation". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- Vadim Gorelik (Вадим Горелик) "Как товарищи Махмуд Аббас и Евгений Примаков Холокост отрицали" ("Comarades' Mahmoud Abbas' and Yevgeniy Primakov's denial
- A Holocaust-Denier as Prime Minister of "Palestine"? by Dr. Rafael Medoff (The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies)
- Akiva Eldar, "U.S. told us to ignore Israeli map reservations", Haaretz, 27 May 2003.  "A partnership was established between Hitler's Nazis and the leadership of the Zionist movement... [the Zionists] gave permission to every racist in the world, led by Hitler and the Nazis, to treat Jews as they wish, so long as it guarantees immigration to Palestine." *Source: The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism, by Mahmoud Abbas, 15 February 1984
- Ma'an News Agency
- 'Abbas claims Zionists, Nazis linked before WWII'
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Mahmoud Abbas|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Mahmoud Abbas|
|Wikinews has news related to:|
- Mahmoud Abbas' speech at UN; A bid for a Palestinian State
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Mahmoud Abbas on Charlie Rose
- Mahmoud Abbas at the Internet Movie Database
- Works by or about Mahmoud Abbas in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Mahmoud Abbas collected news and commentary at The Electronic Intifada
- Mahmoud Abbas collected news and commentary at The Guardian
- Mahmoud Abbas collected news and commentary at Ha'aretz
- Mahmoud Abbas collected news and commentary at The Jerusalem Post
- Mahmoud Abbas collected news and commentary at MSNBC.com
- Mahmoud Abbas collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Mahmoud Abbas at the Notable Names Database
- Profile: Mahmoud Abbas, BBC News, 5 November 2009
- Mahmoud Abbas at the Open Directory Project
- Abbas: No Force Against Arab Militants, AP (9 June 2003)
- Someone Was Going to Kill Newsweek Interview of Mahmoud Abbas (21 June 2004)[dead link]
- Palestinian Head Meets Barghouti, BBC News (26 November 2004)
- I Don't Have a Magic Wand, Der Spiegel (21 February 2005)[dead link]
- Bush pledges $50 million to Palestinian Authority, CNN (26 May 2005)
- Chairman Abbas' address to the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (26 September 2008)
|New office||Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority
|Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization
|President of the Palestinian National Authority
|New title||President of Palestine