The Last Palestinian: The Rise and Reign of Mahmoud Abbas

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Prometheus Books, 2017 - Biography & Autobiography - 274 pages
Mahmoud Abbas rose to prominence as a top Palestinian negotiator, became the leader of his nation, and then tragically failed to negotiate a peace agreement. This is the first book in English that focuses on one of the most important fixtures of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Filled with new details and based on interviews with key figures in Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Washington, this book weaves together a fascinating story that will interest both veteran observers of the conflict and readers new to Israeli-Palestinian history.

The authors, one a research fellow at a nonpartisan Washington think tank and the other an award-winning diplomatic correspondent for Israel's largest news website, tell the inside story of Abbas's complicated multi-decade relationship with America, Israel, and his own people. They trace his upbringing in Galilee, his family's escape from the 1948 Israeli-Arab war, and his education abroad. They chart his rise to prominence as a pivotal actor in the Oslo peace process of the 1990s and his unsuccessful attempt to offer a nonviolent alternative to the Second Intifada.

The authors pay special attention to the crucial years of 2005 to 2014, exploring such questions as: How did Abbas lose control of half of his governing territory and the support of more than half of his people? Why was Abbas the most prominent Palestinian leader to denounce terrorism? Why did Abbas twice walk away from peace offers from Israel and the U.S. in 2008 and 2014? And how did he turn himself from the first world leader to receive a phone call from President Obama to a person who ultimately lost the faith of the American president?

Concluding that Abbas will most likely be judged a tragic figure, the authors emphasize that much of his historical importance will depend on the state of the peace process after he is gone. Only the future will determine which of the emerging schools of Palestinian political thought will hold sway and how it will affect the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


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The Reign of Mahmoud Abbas

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About the author (2017)

Grant Rumley is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where he focuses on Palestinian politics. He has published in leading media outlets including Foreign Affairs, the Atlantic, Foreign Policy, and contributed commentary to the New York Times, Reuters, and Newsweek. Previously, he lived in Jerusalem, where he founded and edited The Jerusalem Review of Near East Affairs. Prior to that, he served as a consultant on Middle East issues in Washington, D.C.

Amir Tibon is an award-winning Israeli journalist and current chief Washington correspondent for Haaretz, Israel's paper of record. Prior to that, he was a diplomatic correspondent for a leading Israeli news website where he extensively covered the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. His writings on Israel, the Palestinians, and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East have been published in the Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, Politico Magazine, the New Republic, Tablet Magazine, and and other leading U.S. publications.

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