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Abbas Seeks End to Violence

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Abbas New Leader of Palestinians
The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

January 18, 2005

Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Yasser Arafat as leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, is in the Gaza Strip to meet personally with militant leaders of his own people who seem intent on continuing the violence that is marring his calls for peace.

The newly elected leader has received endorsements from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and U.S. President George W. Bush but has found less support from his own people, at least the ones who have made their case with guns and bombs in the last few days.

The violence against Israelis has been particularly deadly in Abbas' first week in office, and Sharon has urged the new leader to crack down or face Israeli action against the perpetrators.

Abbas hopes to find success similar to what he had in 2003, when as prime minister he negotiated a truce that lasted two months (which, officials insist, is like decades on a traditional calendar).

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