The Hamlet of the Palestinians

July 13, 2017 19:45

A biography of Mahmoud Abbas attempts to show how this believer in peace achieved power but was frustrated in his goals

4 minute read.

Yasser Arafat

Abbas gestures during a speech in Ramallah last year marking the 12th anniversary of terrorist leader Yasser Arafat’s death. (photo credit: REUTERS)

In 1996, after Benjamin Netanyahu won the Israeli election, the Palestinian leadership was shocked. Gone were their “partners” in Jerusalem, the Israeli leadership under Yitzhak Rabin – who had been assassinated – and Shimon Peres – who had lost. One man took it in stride. Shaken, Mahmoud Abbas decided to reach out to a man the Palestinian street saw as a mass murderer: Ariel Sharon. In June 1997, he went to Sharon’s ranch in southern Israel.

“Abbas’s willingness to see past popular opinion in order to make progress was a sign that his belief in peace was still strong,” write Grant Rumley and Amir Tibon in a new biography of the man who has been the Palestinian leader for more than a decade after being elected to a fouryear term in 2004.


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