Mahmoud Abbas

(1935- ) A Palestinian political figure, also known as Abu Mazen. Abbas has been a leading figure in Fatah which he co-founded along with Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) since its inception. Throughout his career, Abbas has been involved in negotiations between West Banks and the Israeli government, most notably as the leading West Bank negotiator of the Oslo Accords and as the PLO signatory of the Oslo Accords’ Declaration of Principles in September 1993. He served as the first Prime Minister of the West Bank Authority (PA) from March to October 2003, when he resigned after an internal West Bank power struggle. Following the death of Arafat in 2004, the PLO executive committee appointed Abbas as Chairman of the PLO. In January 2005, he was elected to a four-year term as President of the PA. He unilaterally extended his term for another year due to the Hamas-Fatah conflict and, though that second deadline expired in 2008, as of May 2015, he continues to hold both positions, as presidential and legislative elections continued to be delayed. Due to the Hamas-Fatah conflict, Abbas’s authority has extended only over the West Bank since 2007. Abbas is viewed by some as a moderate and pragmatic politician who calls for negotiation rather than armed struggle, and is credited for helping improve the economy of the West Bank. However, he is also perceived by many as primarily appeasing Israel and the United States rather than advocating for the rights of his people. See "How Long Can Mahmoud Abbas Hold On?" Dalia Hatuqa, Foreign Policy, Jan 16, 2015.

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