Monday, March 19, 2018

Abbas Sets Himself Up For Continued Isolation By Burning Bridges

Burning all bridges, Abbas sets himself up for continued isolation

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is once again shooting in all directions. Earlier this year, he described Israel as a “colonial project” unrelated to Judaism. Now he has determined that the Palestinians have other enemies to deal with: everyone else, almost.

In his speech before Palestinian leaders in Ramallah on Monday night, Abbas set himself — and his people — on a collision course with both the US and Hamas.

In addition, the address also contained implicit criticism of Egypt for its role in brokering the “reconciliation” agreement between his ruling Fatah faction and Hamas in October 2017.
Abbas’s decision to burn all bridges with the three parties reflects his increased sense of isolation and frustration.
Abbas, according to some of his aides, has been in a state of “deep desperation” in recent weeks.
Some say this could be connected to unconfirmed reports about his deteriorating health. Others argue that Abbas’s fury and frustration are the direct result of the US administration’s “hostile” policies towards the Palestinians.

Abbas is also said to be deeply outraged and concerned about reports that the US administration has been searching for “alternative” Palestinian officials who would accept President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-announced Mideast peace plan.
Even worse, Abbas feels that some of the Arab countries, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are in collusion with the Trump administration to “impose” the peace plan on the Palestinians. Abbas feels that the Arab brothers have abandoned him, a senior Fatah official explained to The Times of Israel.
Abbas was well aware that lashing out in public at US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, whom he called a “son of a dog,” would draw a strong response from the Trump administration. He also knows that the Palestinians could pay a heavy price for such an unprecedented insult against a top US representative.
But Abbas feels that the Palestinians’ relations with the US have stooped so low that it’s impossible to undo the damage. He feels the Palestinians no longer have anything to lose by engaging in a direct confrontation with a US administration which, Abbas believes, has practically endorsed all the positions of the Israeli government.

The fury with the US, however, is not only directed against the Trump administration.
Abbas believes the US “conspiracy” against the Palestinians and Arabs began long before Trump entered the White House. According to the PA president, the Americans facilitated the Hamas “coup” against the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip in 2007 and even orchestrated the 2010 Arab Spring across the Middle East.
In other words, Abbas sees the US as being in cahoots with Islamists operating against moderate, secular Arabs and Palestinians.
He also seems determined to foil Trump’s peace plan, when and if it’s made public. The plan, according to Abbas, has one main goal: “to destroy the Palestinian national project.” But the Palestinians, Abbas vowed, will not allow the Trump plan to pass.
Lashing out further, Abbas also took the Americans and Egyptians to task for “inventing” the “reconciliation” deal between Fatah and Hamas.
He pointed out that the Egyptians had failed in their mission to end the dispute between the two rival parties in the past decade. “We thank Egypt for its effort,” he said. “But for me, what counts is the outcome. And what is the outcome? Zero.”

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