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last updated Jan. 25, 2010 2:34 PM (EST+7)
Yasser Abed Rabbo
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Palestinian politics FIDA Palestine Democratic Union
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a member of the Palestine Democratic Union, FIDA, was first made minister of information and culture in 1994 and remained in this position until April 2003, when he was made minister of cabinet affairs under Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. He lost this position after the November 2003 cabinet reshuffle under Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei.

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Abed Rabbo was born in Jaffa in 1945. He became a refugee after the 1948 war. He holds a master’s degree in economics and political science from the American University in Cairo. In 1968 Abed Rabbo was co-founder (with Nayef Hawatmeh) of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) a leftist group within the PLO. He was leader and deputy secretary general of the DFLP when it first split from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

In 1971 he became the DFLP representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee and from 1973 he was head of the PLO department of information and culture. In August 1973 he first proposed establishing a state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza rather than claiming all of historic Palestine and he is believed to be the main force behind the 1998 adoption of the two-state solution by the Palestine National Council (PNC) in Algiers. Between 1988 and 1990 Abed Rabbo took part in the dialogue with Jordan and the United States.

He was expelled from the DFLP politburo in April 1991 after disagreements over leadership. He subsequently formed a new group, FIDA, in September 1991. FIDA abandoned Marxism-Leninism and accepted the proposed peace paradigm, thus moving closer to the peace policies of PLO chairman, Yasser Arafat. Abed Rabbo has been secretary general of the party since its formation. He was head of the PLO department of information in Tunis.

In 1991, Abed Rabbo was a member of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid talks. He participated in the secret Oslo talks in 1993. He served as a senior member of the Palestinian negotiating team and attended all the major negotiations, including those conducted at Camp David in 2000 and Taba in 2001.

He first served as minister of information and culture in the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994. In January 1996, he was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) to represent Tulkarem constituency. He was FIDA representative to the PLO executive committee, head of the PLO media department and was a close advisor to Arafat. He was considered a leading PLO moderate. Since 1998 he has headed the PLC Committee for Education, Culture and Science.

In 1999 he was appointed head of the negotiating team for the final status talks, but he resigned in May 2000 over the revelation of ‘secret’ talks in Stockholm, Sweden. He was co-initiator alongside Yossi Beilin and signatory to the unofficial December 2003 Geneva Accord and head of the Palestinian peace coalition, a non-governmental grassroots institution that aims to promote a strong partnership for a just and lasting Palestinian-Israeli peace.
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