Ben Ali, Zine el-Abidine
Ben Ali had a moderating influence on the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO leaders lived in Tunisia for 10 years) and was a supporter of attempts at reaching peace with Israel. Domestically, he continued to develop a relatively secular, Westernized, and increasingly middle-class nation, but the enrichment of members of his extended family during his rule and persistent high unemployment led in 2010–11 to protests that forced him into exile in Saudi Arabia and sparked the Arab Spring. In absentia, Ben Ali was convicted (2011, 2012) of embezzlement and other charges.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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