HE. President Mahmoud AbbasPresident of the Palestinian National Authority
Birth: 26 March 1935 (Age: 82)
Source of Influence: Political
Influence: Political. One of the founders of Fatah, and leading peace negotiator in the Palestine-Israel conflict.
School of Thought: Sunni
Status: Featured in current year
Politics: President Abbas is one of the few surviving founder members of Fatah – the main political grouping within the PLO. He has always been committed to pursuing an independent Palestinian state through negotiations and was one of the principal architects of the Oslo peace process. He accompanied Yassir Arafat to the White House to sign the Oslo Accords.
Historic Treaty with Jordan: President Abbas signed a historic agreement with King Abdullah II of Jordan confirming the Hashemite Kingdom’s custodianship over the Holy Sites of Jerusalem. This treaty makes formal a situation which has existed since 1924, and it will not merely avoid any disputes between Jordan and Palestine, but will more importantly enable both countries to jointly legally protect the Holy Sites in Jerusalem against Israeli (official or unofficial) incursions, physical destruction and illegal annexation.
Future Issues: Mr Abbas is in the 12th year of what was initially meant to be a four-year term in office and the lack of any clear progress for the Palestinian situation, and an economy in ruins has led to support for Fatah waning even in the West Bank. The PNA has submitted initial documents to the International Criminal Court to investigate possible war crimes by Israel during their onslaught of Gaza in 2014. There have been strong signs of a reconciliation with Hamas and this along with the need to stop illegal Israeli settlements from ever-expanding are the main issues of the day for Abbas.