Bookmark and Share

Open the online Arabic language course

Mahmoud Abbas
Arabic: mahmūd ¢abbās

Mahmoud Abbas

(1935- ) Palestinian president 2005-. He is also known as Abu Mazen, "Father of Mazen"; Mazen is his oldest son.
Abbas is considered to be a moderate politician in matters concerning issues of peace with Israel. Other see him as a politician who is willing to strike deals with solutions that many Palestinians will never accept. Yet, he is considered to be very much concerned about the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland in present-day Israel.
Abbas has been one of the most central figures in Palestinian foreign activities, dealing both with other Arab states, Israel and Western countries.
As the prime minister for only 4 months in 2003, Abbas emerged as the loser in a power battle with Arafat. Yet this gave him an image of being a politician who cares about his duties, and who is not compromising just to stay in power. The power battle created hostility between the two which had not been reconciled when Arafat died in November 2004.
He has his education in both law and history.

1935 March 26: Born in Safed, then under British control, now Israel.
1948: With the formation of the state of Israel, Abbas flees his hometown, and settles in Syria.
1950's: Joins Palestinian liberation groups, mainly during his stay in Qatar.
1957: Is one of the founding members of al-Fatah.
1970's: While working close to Yassir Arafat, Abbas is central in creating contact with Socialist and pacifist Jewish groups.
1982: Publishes a doctoral dissertation claiming that the number of Jews killed during Holocaust was much smaller than previously assumed; less than 1 million. He also held that there were secret ties between the Nazis and the Zionists.
1993 September 13: Abbas is one of the most central participants with the Oslo Agreement. Some even hold him as the chief architect. His importance is reflected in him acting as the signatory for the PLO.
2003 May 19: Is appointed Palestine's first prime minister by president Yassir Arafat.
October 7: Resigns as prime minister, and is succeeded by Ahmad Qurei. He states that his resignation is caused by his inability to carry out his duties, as he has been opposed by leading forces in Palestine, including the president, and received little support from Israel and USA.
2004 November 11: Is elected chairman of PLO, upon the death of Yassir Arafat.
2005 January 9: Is elected president of Palestine.
2006 November 12: Replaces Farouk Kaddoumi as head of Al-Fatah.
2007 June 14: Abbas dissolves the coalition goverment, but Prime Minister Haniya refuses to resign.

By Tore Kjeilen