Readout of Biden’s Phone conversation with President Abbas
This afternoon, President Biden spoke with Palestinian Authority President Abbas. President Biden condemned Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel and reiterated that Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination.
President Abbas briefed President Biden on his engagement in the region and his efforts to bring urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza. President Biden offered President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority his full support for these important and ongoing efforts.
President Biden discussed with President Abbas U.S. efforts to work with the United Nations, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and others to ensure humanitarian supplies reach civilians in Gaza.
Finally, President Biden detailed U.S. efforts to coordinate with partners to prevent the conflict from widening, and the two leaders discussed the need to preserve stability in the West Bank and the broader region.
Background Information on Mahmoud Abbas
Born in Safed, Palestine, on March 26, 1935, Abbas’s upbringing was in a region marked by political turmoil. He later moved to Syria and Qatar, where he began his career as a teacher. His academic journey led him to Damascus University for a law degree and, eventually, a Ph.D. from the Oriental College in Moscow.
It was during the late 1950s that Abbas first stepped into the world of politics by joining the Fatah movement, a decision that would define his path.
Rise to Power
Abbas’s prominence grew within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Under the mentorship of Yasser Arafat, he held pivotal positions, including serving as the PLO’s ambassador to the United Nations and as the Secretary-General of the PLO’s Executive Committee. Following Arafat’s death in 2004, Abbas was elected as Chairman of the PLO and became the President of the Palestinian Authority.
Achievements and Controversies
Abbas’s leadership has seen both achievements and controversies. He has been a steadfast advocate for a two-state solution, engaging in peace negotiations with Israel in various rounds of talks, including the Camp David Accords and the Annapolis Conference.
However, critics have pointed out that the peace process has faced numerous obstacles, and reconciliation with the rival Palestinian faction, Hamas, has proven challenging. Concerns regarding democratic governance and allegations of authoritarian tendencies within the Palestinian Authority have also emerged.
Abbas’s role has been pivotal in shaping Palestinian foreign policy. His active engagement with the international community has led to the recognition of the State of Palestine by many countries and non-member observer status at the United Nations in 2012.
His relationship with Israeli leaders has been marked by periods of progress and setbacks, with peace negotiations often facing hurdles. Nonetheless, his commitment to a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains unwavering.
Legacy and Future Outlook
As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, Mahmoud Abbas continues serving as the Palestinian Authority’s President. His legacy is one of determination and resilience in the face of complex challenges. His unwavering dedication to the Palestinian cause and the pursuit of a two-state solution remains central to his leadership.