Escaping Arafat's Shadow

In an exclusive interview, TIME speaks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

For his first interview with an English-language magazine since taking office in January, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with TIME's Jerusalem bureau chief, Matt Rees, and correspondent Jamil Hamad last Saturday in his West Bank office. After buzzing an aide for a cigarette (he does not carry his own pack, believing, he joked, that "this keeps down my consumption"), Abbas talked for an hour about his challenges.

TIME: What do you think will be the consequences for Palestinians of events in Lebanon?

ABBAS: It's clear-cut. President Assad said he will withdraw. But for us, we don't know yet the consequences. We...

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