Last week, Mahmoud Abbas – who looks sure to be the next elected president of the Palestinian people – visited Kuwait where he apologized for the Palestinian support (translation, Arafat’s support) of Saddam prior to and during Gulf War I. Today, Abbas called for an end to the armed uprising:
“The uprising should be kept away from arms because it is a legitimate right of the people to express their rejection of the occupation by popular and social means. The use of arms has been damaging and should end.”
The end of Arafat seems to have paved the way for a new and effective leader (one out for his people, not just himself) to emerge. But can Abbas survive with this kind of messaging in an era where groups on both sides of the struggle define themselves by it?