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March 11, 2003

Holocaust denier and armed struggle advocate, Abu Mazen is likely PM

The Israel Insider posts this story. Is this a signal of change or more and continued deception?
The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) voted to approve the appointment of a Palestinian prime minister today. Approval of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's selection, Mahmoud Abbas (better known by his nom de guerre, Abu Mazen), and resolution of an internal debate regarding the extent of powers to be included in the post, is expected in the coming days.

Following a two-day session, the Palestinian Central Council approved legislation that creates the position of a Palestinian prime minister. Although the new law was quickly and overwhelmingly approved by the PLC, the scope of the authority of the new position remains undecided. PLC members are split in their opinion on how much power to grant to Abbas.

Arafat supporters do not want to relinquish control over foreign affairs, including negotiations with Israel, and prefer to limit the prime minister's authority to internal Palestinian matters. However, Abbas has stated that he will only accept the position if he is granted real powers, and hopes to play a role in future peace talks.

Abbas, who has served as Arafat's deputy, was instrumental in forming the Fatah movement and has held senior positions within the organization for over twenty years. Although described as a non-charismatic figure, he enjoys broad-based support in the Fatah political establishment.

Abbas, who was a key figure in orchestrating the 1993 Oslo peace accords, is widely known as a moderate and has made statements against the use of Palestinian violence. Recently, he met with Israeli officials to discuss a plan for a year free of Palestinian violence as the next phase in the regional peace process.
But then we get this
However there is evidence, which has caused an uproar in Israel in the past week, that Abbas has not abandoned the armed struggle but only objects to its specific tactics. In a recent interview, he denied that his call for a break in violence applied to all places, all Israelis, or all types of attack: "We did not say, however, that we are giving up the armed struggle. The Intifada must continue. The Palestinian people have a right to oppose using [more]