Udi Dekel, Noa Shusterman
Since 2005, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has worn three hats, serving as President of the Palestinian Authority (PA), General Secretary of the PLO, and Chairman of Fatah. Along with scoring several achievements for the Palestinians during his tenure, Abbas is also accountable for a number of failures, foremost among them the split between the PA in the West Bank and Hamas, which took over the Gaza Strip in 2007. The difficulty caused by this internal rift compounds the lack of progress toward the long-sought goal of an independent Palestinian state. Despite the criticism, Abbas’s position has not been challenged, and during his term stability has prevailed in the West Bank most of the time. In recent years, there have been growing rumors of his expected exit from the stage, whether willingly or unwillingly, and there is much anticipation in the Palestinian arena.