Mahmoud Abbas was elected as President of the Palestinian National Authority in 2005. He is a leading politician in the Fatah movement. He was also the first Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority. Abbas has spent much of his career negotiating with Israel to secure a Palestinian homeland. He is viewed by the West as a moderate who can help bring peace to the region.
Abbas was born in 1935 in Palestine. His family became refugees during the 1948 war with Israel and settled in Syria. He graduated from the University of Damascus and then went to study law in Egypt. He then moved to Moscow to do his Ph.D. In his thesis, he described the Nazi Holocaust as being nothing but a “fantastic lie”.