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Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas waves to supporters during his visit to the West Bank biblical town of Bethlehem on November 8, 2009. Abbas, who was elected at the head of the Palestinian Authority in 2005, announced earlier this week that he will not seek re-election in January polls. Palestinian officials had said that Abbas's decision was motivated by his disappointment with US efforts to halt Israeli settlement construction, which he had said must happen before the resumption of peace talks with Israel. photo by Thaer Ganaim