Posts tagged Abbas
Nearly two decades have passed since the Oslo Accords first gave the world hope for Mideast peace and an end to Israeli rule over the Palestinian territories; in the West Bank, the failed framework for peace talks has become directly associated with the occupation itself. When hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets last week to protest a (subsequently canceled) visit to Ramallah by Israeli Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz, their chants targeted the former IDF chief, but the calls for an end to Oslo were even louder – an indirect attack on President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority.
Eighteen years after the Palestinian Authority’s creation, some Palestinians are questioning whether the Oslo-designed Palestinian quasi-government, which was only ever meant to exist as a five-year interim body, has outlived its raison d’être of achieving Palestinian independence and ending the occupation through diplomatic channels.
As far as a growing number of people are concerned, the Oslo accords, and their byproduct, the Palestinian Authority, have done little more than act as a political and security buffer for maintaining Israel’s (more…)
“You can either have peace with Hamas or peace with Israel,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a public statement Monday, hours after Abbas signed an agreement to form an interim government with Hamas ahead of Palestinian elections. The ultimatum, however, is fundamentally flawed; even if peace with Israel was around the corner, it would not be possible for the Palestinian president to reach a deal with Israel before mending ties with Hamas.
The only solution to the conflict currently on the table – although many others are lurking in the background – is the two-state solution, which by definition necessitates one unified Palestinian leadership. The goal of the two-state framework is the establishment of the State of Palestine, not two separate states in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
But there are other more important issues involved. Mahmoud Abbas is not Yasser Arafat. Abbas’s credibility on the Palestinian street has been consistently waning. Currently entering the seventh year of a four-year (more…)
Following the announcement of a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas Tuesday night, Israeli television displayed a split screen showing crowds simultaneously dancing in both Jerusalem and Gaza City. One anchor on Channel 2 News commented, “It’s not often that you see people celebrating the same deal in Israel and Gaza.”
It would be wrong and skewed to suggest that the primary goal in reaching the prisoner exchange deal was driven by any motivation greater than the actual release of prisoners. But after five years of negotiations and amid the PA’s UN bid, the timing and alternative considerations involved are significant and potentially of great consequence.
As with everything in the Middle East, there is more to the prisoner exchange deal than what is immediately obvious. In the midst of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s statehood bid in the United Nations, it is in the interest of both Israel and Hamas to undermine the PA president, something that was likely accomplished Tuesday.
Although Abbas’s bid for statehood is a bold move that excites Palestinians, most are aware that the diplomatic maneuver is unlikely to deliver any of the tangible results Palestinians demand, the least of which is technical statehood.
Up until today, Hamas has failed to actually improve the lives of Palestinians, both in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Although its resistance ideology has preserved its credibility, electorates (more…)
What exactly will Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas bring back with him when he returns from the United Nations in New York later this month? In today’s world of 24-hour news cycles and in a conflict where reality can and does change by the minute, most speculation and analysis tends to focus on what will happen the day after statehood is declared. But while such a short-term analysis is appropriate from the Israeli perspective, looking at the latest diplomatic move from the Palestinian side requires a much longer view.
“We don’t want to raise expectations by saying we are going to come back with full independence,” Abbas said in his much-anticipated speech last week describing his foray in the United Nations. Even if the statehood bid in the UN is successful, he cautioned, it will not “end the occupation.”
Abbas, a protégé and ideological successor of late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, shares the primary strategy of the iconic Palestinian leader and the current move should be understood in the context of (more…)
A new, but anticipated type of instability began sweeping through the usually-unstable Middle East on Tuesday. Mass protests across Egypt followed the inspirational people’s uprising in Tunisia, Lebanese Sunnis protested a Hizbullah power grab across their country, and anger built in the Palestinian territories as details of what the Palestinian Authority was willing to concede in negotiations with Israel were released in the “Palestine Papers.” Even if the civil unrest does not continue on Wednesday, the day’s events were anything but inconsequential both in the Arab world and to the West and Israel.
In Egypt, the people have long been dissatisfied with their quality of life and lack of freedom (more…)
With violence once again escalating along the Gaza border, we are faced with one of the most serious delusions of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, that there are two Palestines. While the world has fallen in love with the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank that has almost entirely denounced violent resistance in exchange for technocratic state building and non-violent struggle, the Gaza Strip continues to live in an alternate reality of violence and fanaticism.
This is not to say that a Palestinian state comprised solely of the West Bank could easily reach a peace settlement with Israel were Gaza to be removed from the equation. It does, however, serve as a reminder that Palestinian society suffers from a massive split, both in its political leadership and its strategy for attaining independence.
While the people of Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin and the smaller towns of Budrous and Bil’in have won accomplishments and improvements in the quality of their lives in recent years as a result of non-violent resistance and state building efforts, residents of the Gaza Strip are experiencing a converse reality. (more…)
Having discussed how the Israelis never seem to miss a chance at sabotaging the current American-sponsored peace talks, it would be negligent to ignore Palestinian moves that too, risk derailing the chances of a negotiated two-state solution. It is important to remember that just as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has cemented himself into the position that he will not renew the settlement freeze, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is politically unable to back down from his insistence on a renewed building moratorium before he will return to direct talks. By focusing on the issue of settlement construction, Abbas is able to ignore more debilitating barriers to a peace deal such as the schism between the Fatah-controlled West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Furthermore, it is looking more and more as if the Palestinian leadership is counting on the current round of peace talks to fail over the settlement issue so that they can attempt to change international political realities by asking world powers to recognize Palestinian statehood or by seeking UN resolutions condemning Israeli actions.
Abbas on Thursday reiterated his threats to seek a resolution in the UN condemning Israeli settlement actions if the building freeze (that expired at the end of September) is not renewed. Although the Israelis would perceived such a move as deliberately-antagonistic, it seems to (more…)
President Barack Obama deserves acknowledgement for his efforts to realize a two-state solution, but applause is un-called for. One must begin to question the depth of Obama’s strategy, as his moves in the process seem more and more reactionary. Pressuring Israel to implement a 10-month West Bank settlement freeze was the right move, but waiting until it was nearly expired to make any further moves effectively eliminated any significance it had. Furthermore, the scheduling of peace talks at the same time as mid-term elections may have been inevitable considering the non-stop American political cycle, but it has severely limited his political capital to exert further pressure on the Israelis. As the peace talks he fought so hard to start teeter on the brink of collapse, what does the American president have up his sleeve?
Pressuring Israel to enact a 10-month settlement freeze was perhaps a necessary precursor to renewing the long-stalled peace talks. However, waiting so long to make his next move essentially wasted the momentum created by the freeze and the ensuing public chilling of relations between the US and Israel. By the time the American-sponsored peace summit materialized (and with it, the most optimism the region has seen (more…)