Mahmoud Abbas: Pressing the Flesh for Peace
Abbas shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in July 2003. Even before Yasser Arafat's death in November 2004, the Bush Administration insisted that then Prime Minister Abbas' powers be expanded at Arafat's expense, in the hopes that he would make peace with Israel. President George W. Bush also hailed Sharon as a "man of peace," despite Sharon's long-standing opposition to the Oslo accords. When Washington orchestrated the first talks between Sharon and Abbas, in the summer of 2003, little came of it. Sharon was later incapacitated by a massive stroke he suffered in January 2006.