The Palestinian President And His Unfulfilled Quest For A State

The Palestinian President And His Unfulfilled Quest For A State

Mahmoud Abbas was the primary technology of Palestinian exiles


Mahmoud Abbas spent a lot of his life earlier than turning into Palestinian president within the shadow of Yasser Arafat, lengthy the figurehead of the Palestinian trigger, however he has by no means secured the identical standing within the function and has not introduced his individuals nearer to statehood.

Primarily based within the West Financial institution metropolis of Ramallah, the 87-year-old has seen his function additional eclipsed by the rise of Hamas, the Islamist group that has managed Gaza since 2006, and by the increasing Jewish settlements on occupied West Financial institution land.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken visited him on Tuesday, after repeating Washington’s help for a two-state answer. However Abbas has beforehand mentioned Western governments have successfully undermined that objective by failing to recognise Palestine as a state and by failing to carry Israel to account.

It now appears a distant hope with rising bloodshed on the West Financial institution previously 12 months, a drive by the brand new Israeli authorities to broaden West Financial institution settlements and recurrent exchanges over Gaza of militant rockets and Israeli airstrikes.

“The Israeli authorities is answerable for what is occurring as we speak, due to its practices that undermine the two-state answer and violate the signed agreements,” Abbas throughout Blinken’s go to, a cost the Palestinian president usually makes and which Israel refutes.

Abbas was the primary technology of Palestinian exiles, born after colonial powers drew new Center Jap borders and is sufficiently old to recall the primary Arab-Israeli struggle of 1948 when half the 1.4 million Arabs of Palestine – together with Abbas himself – fled or have been pushed from their land into a brand new life as refugees. 

He was an early member of Fatah, the Palestine Liberation Group (PLO) faction that dominated Palestinian politics for many years. He turned chief of each when Arafat died in 2004, and a 12 months later was elected president of the Palestinian Authority, which workouts restricted sovereignty within the West Financial institution.

The excessive level of his profession was a 1993 White Home ceremony at which he and Israeli Overseas Minister Shimon Peres signed the Oslo accords which provided the prospect of Palestinian autonomy within the Israeli-occupied West Financial institution and Gaza Strip.  

Behind them have been U.S. President Invoice Clinton, Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, applauding warmly.

In his go well with and tie – a stark distinction to Arafat’s keffiyeh scarf and fight fatigues – Abbas’ advocacy of dialogue over violence and lengthy service as a negotiator raised hopes for a negotiated settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian battle. 

However when Arafat died greater than 1 / 4 of a century later the Israeli-Palestinian peace course of was moribund and relations with Washington have been at a nadir. Critics accused Abbas’ interior circle of graft, nepotism and ineffectiveness.

Fewer Appearances

He has been seen much less and fewer in later years, and repeated visits to hospitals have added to considerations about his capability to steer the Palestinian authorities by means of political turbulence.

One public look in 2018, backfired dismally when – not for the primary time – he was accused of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in a speech. Amid worldwide condemnation of his remarks, he was compelled to apologise.

Abbas was born in 1935 in Safed, a city in what was then British-ruled Palestine and is now northern Israel. He fled to Syria as a toddler amid preventing over the creation of Israel and later went to work in Qatar, the place he joined different Palestinians together with Arafat in Fatah.

After Israel captured and occupied the West Financial institution and Gaza within the 1967 Six Day Conflict, Arafat’s Fatah seized management of the PLO and a decades-long guerrilla marketing campaign in opposition to Israel started, with its leaders transferring from Jordan to Lebanon and later Tunisia.

When the Palestinian management returned from exile to Gaza after the Oslo Accords Abbas was upbeat, promising: “I’ll reside in Palestine.” However peace talks faltered in following years.

Abbas gained a presidential election in 2005 however his Fatah group was defeated 2006 parliamentary elections. Hamas routed Fatah in a civil struggle in Gaza, leaving Abbas with management of Palestinian-administered areas within the West Financial institution however there have been no Palestinian elections since.

Looking for to regain the initiative, Abbas made unilateral strikes to hunt Palestinian statehood on the United Nations. In 2012, Palestine gained “non-member statehood” on the U.N. Basic Meeting. However the objective of a state has remained elusive.

Abbas has held little sway with successive U.S. presidents, whose function is important in Center East diplomacy, and he has appeared ever extra remoted as regional allies the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco have signed diplomatic offers with Israel.

“Having contributed to achievements that place our individuals on the forefront of historical past,” he warned way back to 1994, “I stay deeply involved that we may get swept away by historical past, lose management, and undergo an unrecoverable setback.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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