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Newsmaker: Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, has said that hostilities in the Middle East won't end if Israel continues to take Palestinian land. Abbas also is secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Orga...

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, has said that hostilities in the Middle East won't end if Israel continues to take Palestinian land. Abbas also is secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Abbas has been a loyal deputy to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat for decades, although now the relationship between the two is questionable.

Early years: Abbas, a devout Muslim, was born in 1935 in Safed, now part of northern Israel. Abbas and his family, along with about 700,000 other Palestinians, fled to Syria during the 1948-49 war that created Israel. Abbas earned a law degree from Damascus University and holds his Ph.D. in history from Moscow's Oriental College.

Career: Abbas, along with Arafat, was a founding member of the Palestinian Liberation Movement (Fatah), the largest political group in the PLO. In the 1950s, he accompanied Arafat into exile in Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia. Abbas was instrumental in initiating the 1965 Palestinian revolution for national independence.

Since 1968, he has been a member of the Palestinian National Council. Abbas signed the 1993 Declaration of Principles that launched the Oslo Peace process. In 1995, he signed the Interim Peace Agreement with Israel.

Personal: Abbas is married and has three children. He has published three books.

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In his words: "We will exert all of our efforts using all our resources to end the militarization of the intifada and we will succeed. The armed intifada must end, and we must use and resort to peaceful means in our quest to end the occupation and the suffering of Palestinians and Israelis."

Web link: www.palestinereport.org/sect/cabinet/cabinetcv.html

Compiled by Carol Bradley Bursack

Sources: nad-plo.org, Edition.cnn.com, news.bbc.co.uk

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