Palestinians with special needs celebrate the agreement to form a unity government in Gaza city on April 24, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED ABED)
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Abbas' strategy splurge may dilute quest for legitimacyRather than keep his cards close to his chest, President Mahmoud Abbas is playing them all at once in a confusing effort to advance Palestinian statehood and bolster his own fragile legitimacy. Supporters of Abbas, widely known as Abu Mazen, say the maneuverings show he has many options and is astutely lining up his pieces.Clearly the question of legitimacy bothers Abbas.Elected president in 2005, his mandate expired five years ago, but Palestinian divisions have prevented any new vote, with Hamas fully in control of the Gaza Strip, while Abbas enjoys limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Abbas is seeking a Palestinian state in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, lands Israel occupied in the 1967 war.The unity accord was the second time in a month that Abbas had blindsided his U.S. allies, following his sudden decision to put his signature to 15 international conventions in a move intended to boost Palestine's statehood credentials.
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