Mahmoud Abbas
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Abbas Holds All the Cards for Confronting Netanyahu

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has more powers than ever to pursue a diplomatic offensive against Israel that is likely to accelerate with the re-election of his old adversary Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abbas turns 80 on Thursday, with March 26, 1935 widely accepted as the date of his birth, although his entourage seems keen to avoid all mention of his advanced age and has no plans for any celebration.

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Abbas Visits Sweden amid Israel Spat

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Stockholm on Monday for an official visit tainted by a diplomatic row with Israel following Sweden's recognition of Palestine.

Swedish relations with Israel sank to an all-time low after the Nordic country's center-left government decided in October to recognize Palestine, just weeks after it took office.

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Abbas to Stockholm after Israel Shuns Swedish Visit

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Stockholm next month after Sweden became the first major state of the European Union to recognize Palestine, the Swedish government announced Friday.

"The visit of president Abbas, by invitation from the prime minister, is confirmed for February 10," foreign ministry spokeswoman Ulla Jacobson told Agence France-Presse. "He will also meet the foreign minister, the king and the archbishop."

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Al-Ahmed Claims No Evidence on Infiltration of Suspects to Ain el-Hilweh

The aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Azzam al-Ahmed, has stressed that the presence of two Lebanese fugitives in the southern refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh is not yet certain.

“No one can enter the camp legally unless he gets a permit from the Lebanese state,” al-Ahmed told As Safir daily in an interview published on Friday.

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Israeli President Calls on Abbas to Renew Peace Talks

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday urged his Palestinian counterpart to renew peace talks instead of pursuing efforts at the International Criminal Court or United Nations.

"There is no other way than direct negotiations. Unilateral steps will not solve the conflict, but just give more power to the extremists," Rivlin said during a visit by a delegation of U.S. senators headed by Republican John McCain.

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Gaza's Ruined Homes Offer Little Shelter from Storm

Living by candlelight with no electricity and reliant on sandbags to stop their ruined homes flooding, Gazans who survived last year's war are now struggling with a brutal winter storm.

As millions across Israel and the Palestinian territories hunkered down for the worst storm of the winter, freezing rain and gale-force winds battered the Gaza Strip where more than 100,000 homes were destroyed or damaged during the 50-day conflict. 

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Hamas 'Totally Opposed' to Abbas Plan for New U.N. Bid

Hamas said Monday it was "totally opposed" to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's plans to re-submit to the U.N. Security Council a resolution on ending Israel's occupation which failed last week.

"Hamas is totally opposed to any return to the U.N. Security Council by the Palestinian Authority," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.

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Abbas Signs Bid to Join International Criminal Court

President Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday signed a Palestinian request to join the International Criminal Court, seeking a new avenue for action against Israel after a failed U.N. resolution on ending the occupation.

The Palestinians hope ICC membership will pave the way for war crimes prosecutions against Israeli officials for their actions in the occupied territories.

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Palestinian Leadership to Seek U.N. Resolution Wednesday on Occupation

The Palestinians are to present a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council Wednesday that would set a two-year deadline for Israel to end its occupation, an official said.

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Abbas Backs Egypt Crackdown on Gaza Tunnels

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he supported Egypt's crackdown on tunnels linking the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to the Sinai Peninsula and any other action the country took to protect itself from militants, according to a media report Thursday.

"We have supported all the precautionary measures taken by the Egyptian authorities to close the tunnels and stop the trafficking of arms and the passage of people between Gaza and the Sinai," Abbas said in an interview with Egyptian magazine Al-Ahram Al-Arabi due to be published on Saturday, extracts of which were published by MENA news agency.

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