Kushner: Palestine's Mahmoud Abbas is no 'great dealmaker or statesman'
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, who masterminded the Trump administration's new Mideast peace proposal, had tough words for Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, accusing him of being more interested in "flying around" the world than running his government efficiently for his people.
So, who is Mahmoud Abbas?
Abbas runs the Palestinian National Authority (PA), the semi-autonomous government based in Ramallah that manages local affairs in the Palestinian territories in the West Bank. He assumed this role in 2005 after the death of longtime leader Yasser Arafat. The 84-year old Abbas, known colloquially as Abu Mazen, is a veteran of Palestinian politics and peace negotiations: he accompanied Arafat to the White House to sign the Oslo Accords back in 1993.
Abbas has long pursued international recognition of Palestinian statehood. Palestine now has non-member state status at the UN, and in 2015, became a member of the International Criminal Court.
Abbas has firmly rejected the new US peace plan, which was written without input from Palestinian leaders, as "the slap of the century."
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