(CNN) —  

Here’s a look at the life of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.


Birth date: 1935

Birth place: Safed, Palestine

Marriage: Amina Abbas

Children: Three sons Mazen (died in 2002), Yasser and Tareq

Education: Damascus University, B.A.; Oriental College (in Moscow), Ph.D.

Other Facts

His family left the British Mandate area Safed, Palestine, to live in Syria as refugees in 1948.

Abbas laid floor tiles and taught elementary school before earning a law degree.

Played an integral role in the forging of the Declaration of Principles, the historic peace accord signed in 1993 by PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel.

Was the primary force behind the Palestine National Council’s decision to work with Israeli peace groups.

He is also known as Abu Mazen. (Abu is a slang term to describe the head of a family or father of children.)


1959 – Founding member of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah), which became the largest political group of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

1964 Fatah joins the PLO.

1967 Is appointed to Fatah’s Central Committee.

1968 Joins the Palestinian National Council (PNC).

1980 Is elected to the PLO’s Executive Committee.

September 1993 Accompanies Arafat to the White House to sign the Oslo Accords, or the Declaration of Principles.

1995 Signs the Interim Peace Agreement with Israel.

March 19, 2003 Accepts the position of prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.

June 3, 2003 Meets with US President George W. Bush and the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Bahrain, in Egypt, regarding peace efforts.

September 6, 2003 Resigns as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.

November 11, 2004 – Becomes the chairman of the PLO after Arafat’s death.

January 9, 2005 Declares victory in Palestinian presidential elections.

May 26, 2005 – Meets with Bush; the first meeting with the Palestinian Authority in the White House since peace talks broke down in 2000. Bush pledges to give the Palestinian Authority $50 million in aid.

May 31, 2005 Undergoes a successful, minor heart procedure in a hospital in Amman, Jordan.

February 21, 2006 Asks Hamas leader Ismail Haniya to assemble a government. Haniya is sworn in in March.

June 14, 2007 Dissolves the government and dismisses Haniya as prime minister. Haniya rejects this and remains the de facto leader in the Gaza Strip.

June 15, 2007 Appoints economist Salam Fayyad as the new prime minister of an emergency Palestinian Cabinet.

November 27, 2007 Attends the Annapolis Middle East Peace Conference, the first formal peace conference sponsored by the US since 2000. Top diplomats and representatives from dozens of countries and organizations also attend, hoping to restart stalled Middle East peace negotiations.

April 24, 2008 – Meets with Bush at the White House.

January 2009 Extends his term in office until 2010, citing a clause in the constitution.

December 16, 2009 The PLO’s Central Council votes to extend Abbas’s term as president indefinitely.

May 4, 2011 Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal formally adopt a reconciliation agreement during a ceremony in Egypt.

September 16, 2011 Abbas announces during a speech in Ramallah that he will pursue a full United Nations membership bid for Palestine.

September 23, 2011 Abbas submits a statehood application letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

January 3, 2013 Abbas issues a decree renaming the organization the “State of Palestine.”

December 31, 2014 – One day after the UN Security Council rejects a resolution calling for Palestinian statehood by 2017, and for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Abbas applies to join the International Criminal Court. This sets the stage for the Palestinian Authority to possibly pursue war crime complaints against Israel.

September 30, 2015 – Addresses the UN General Assembly before the historic raising of the Palestinian flag at the United Nations, saying the Palestinian Authority is no longer bound by the Oslo Accords.

September 8, 2016 – CNN reports that once-secret Soviet documents, obtained by CNN from the Mitrokhin Archive at Churchill College at the University of Cambridge, say that Abbas, who completed graduate work in Moscow in 1982, was a KGB agent while he was a member of the PLO in Damascus. Palestinian leaders decry the report as a “smear campaign.”

September 30, 2016 – Attends the funeral of Israeli statesman Shimon Peres and shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

October 6, 2016 – Is hospitalized to have his heart tested.

May 3, 2017 – Meets with US President Donald Trump at the White House.

December 10, 2017 – Abbas cancels a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence following Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

April 30, 2018 – Abbas speaks at the opening of the Palestinian National Council remarking that the Holocaust was driven not by anti-semitism, but by the financial activities of European Jews. He apologizes a few days later.

May 28, 2018 – Is released from the hospital after being treated for pneumonia.