Mahmoud Abbas is the head of the Palestinian Authority, a position he undertook in January 2005. He is a member of the Fatah, and has been a chairman of the PLO since November 2004, succeeding Yasser Arafat.
He was born in Safed, and fled with his family to Syria in 1948 when Israel's independence day war broke out. He studied law at the University of Damascus and obtained a PhD degree at the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, where he wrote a dissertaion on the "secret relationship between zionism and nazism."
Abbas is married to Amina Abbas and has three sons - two living, and one deceased.