MAHMOUD ABBAS – ABU MAZEN
In the late 50s’, while a law student in Cairo, Egypt, Mahmoud Abbas met Yasser Arafat and together with few others founded the Fatah movement in 1958, as a student cell in Cairo and became Yasser Arafat’s loyal depute ever since. All the years Mahmoud Abbas was the opposite of Yasser Arafat, distanced himself from terror and violence, always dressed in a western manner, using a simple polite language, only rarely with the famous “Kafiya” and a strong believer of shrewd diplomacy.
The Fatah ideology was, at that time, that “What was taken by power will be taken back by power” and “The armed struggle is the only way”. The Fatah opposed any recognition of Israel and any negotiation far before the 1967 war. Those principles were later in the core of the Palestinian Charta from 1968 that is, still today, the basic founding declaration of PLO.
In 1982 Mahmoud Abbas got his Doctorate in Moscow University on the thesis “The Secret Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement”, suggesting that the Holocaust was a Jewish invention in order to justify the immigration to Israel and the suffering of the Palestinians. Mahmoud Abbas succeeded Yasser Arafat as the PLO chairman and Palestinian Authority President on 01/15/2005 after the death of Arafat.
In 07/2000, in Camp David convention, he was the firmest adviser of Yasser Arafat to reject Israeli proposals, because Israel demanded to link the proposals with the official “end of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians” issue.
On 03/17/2005 Mahmoud Abbas signed in Cairo, Egypt the “Hudna” (In Arabic – temporary cease fire) agreement with Hamas and other Palestinians factions. In the agreement Mahmoud Abbas accepted with his signature these principles:
A. The Hamas formula of the Palestinian “Right of Return” which means not a general right to return to Palestine but the right of each Palestinian to return to his specific home in the specific village with compensation for the economical damage of the last 60 years and the suffering .
B. To enable the Hamas to participate in the Palestinian elections, although according to Oslo accords, in the Palestinian elections groups who denied the right of Israel to exist are banned from taking part.
C. To merge Hamas in the PLO.
After the Cairo “Hudna” agreement Mahmoud Abbas managed to convince Condoleezza Rice, the foreign secretary of USA, that Hamas should participate in the elections arguing that:
1. Hamas cannot wine more than 30% of the vote.
2. The participation in a political democratic election will, surely, moderate Hamas.
3. The participation of Hamas in the elections, in itself, is a sort of recognition of Oslo accords and, indirectly, recognition of Israel asd the counterpart in Oslo accords.
4. He, Mahmoud Abbas, can not be a legitimate representative of the Palestinian people if not all the Palestinian factions will take part in the election.
In the elections on 01/25/2006 Hamas won 73 out of 128 seats in the Palestinian Parliament.
In Mecca declaration from 02/08/2007 Mahmoud Abbas reconfirmed all the principals of the Cairo “Hudna” agreement and especially his commitment to merge Hamas in the PLO.
Some commentators, even inside the Fatah, argue that the real agenda of Mahmoud Abbas is to introduce Hamas into the Palestinian Authority and the PLO. Other refers to him as a weak leader that wants to avoid any confrontation and a failure.
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