Another Setback for Israeli-Palestinian Peace
For all of our Middle East watchers out there, I am sure you know by know that Mahmoud Abbas- the Palestinian President and leader of the globally recognized Fatah-Party- has decided not to run for re-election. In his comments, he not only stressed his profound frustration with the White House over Israeli settlement policies…he also made it rather clear that the main reason for his departure was due to an Israeli unwillingness to constructively negotiate.
Some claim that Mr. Abbas’ resignation may pave the way for a new outlook on Mideast Peace. This certainly is a worthwhile prospect…Abbas is widely unpopular among the Palestinian people and is most often referred to as a Washington-puppet. Perhaps a new administration in charge will finally bridge the pervasive divide among Palestinians, thereby approaching Israel in a position of strength.
I have heard other arguments that Abbas’ departure really doesn’t matter all that much, for the 2010 Palestinain elections will probably not take place.
I, on the other hand, have a much more simplified analysis of the entire ordeal.
All in all, I truly believe this is a strategic political calculation on the part of Mr. Abbas. By announcing his resignation and basically blaming the Obama administration for the entire ordeal, what Abbas is essentially doing is diverting the attention away from himself and placing it on yet another American presidency. Granted, he may not be wrong in this regard; President Obama was rather forceful to the Isrealis on halting settlement construction during his Cairo speech, that is before he was coerced by P.M. Netanyahu during the U.N. General Assembly. For Abbas, indeed the entire Palestinian population, this dramatic 180-degree turn by the President is deeply frustrating for the prospects of their own independent state…away from Israeli control and Israeli supervision.
However, lets not forget that Abbas has not necessarily been successful himself. After all, a number of developments occurred on his watch; Hamas won the Palestinian Parliamentary Elections against a Fatah Party riddled by corruption and inadequacy in 2006; Hamas embarrassed the PA security force in the Gaza Strip in 2007; and the economic outlook remains rather bleak today (despite some successful projects).
And what about Abbas’ awful ratings in the West Bank generally? Perhaps Mr. Abbas is desperately trying to improve his unpopular image by engaging in a typical blame-game scenario…”it is the American administration, not my own ineffective rule, that has resulted in the current failings of a two-state solution.” This seems highly plausible, considering that the PA leader has been detaching himself from the United States ever since the Goldstone Report surfaced.
-Daniel R. DePetris