The Palestinians and a Democratic President in the White House
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Nov. 18, 2020On November 17, 2020, the Palestinian Authority announced it would restore security cooperation with Israel and agreed to receive tax monies Israel had collected for them.But for the near future, the prospects for the Palestinian Authority (PA) stay gloomy. The Arab Spring changed priorities in the Middle East. Observers must be careful to avoid the common mistake of judging the prospects for the PA through the two-sided view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while the truer, wider assessment should be regional. The Palestinians must make decisions with their eyes focused on their natural milieu – the Arab Sunni world – and not Turkey, Iran, or the Shia world, in general. In this new reality, the Sunni Arabs find themselves siding with Israel and not with the Palestinians.What makes things even worse for the PA’s leader Mahmoud Abbas: the Israeli-Arab Sunni alliance is attracting European powers such as France because of the Turkish-French tensions in the Mediterranean and the war by their proxies in Libya. President-elect Biden cannot ignore these real facts on the ground and dismiss them. What he can do is convince the PA and Israel to return to the negotiation table, not to challenge the Israeli-Arab Sunni alliance, but to add the PA to it.The PA’s hesitation in this regard is that of losing Turkey and Iran as diplomatic cards to use and being compelled to rely on Qatar to balance the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia. During the Trump term, this was not possible. In the Biden presidency, the PA hopes it can keep the Sunni world while placing Turkey and Qatar on the side without losing them. This is especially important to Mahmoud Abbas because of the challenge of political rival Mohammed Dahlan who lives in the United Arab Emirates. Relying only on the Gulf with no other cards to play means strengthening Dahlan’s loyalists on the West Bank and the Palestinian diaspora.
Abbas’ shuffling of cards with the fake reconciliation talks in Turkey led by the Qatari proxies Jibril Rajoub (Fatah) and Salah Aruri (Hamas) was considered anti-Trump. In the Arab Sunni world, however, the maneuver was deemed to be dangerous.
Fatah-Hamas Cooperation Lit Arab Warning Lights
The first Arab state alarmed by the Fatah-Hamas talks was Jordan. The very prospect of Hamas gaining power in the West Bank is a horror for the Hashemite Kingdom. Although the Moslem Brotherhood, of which Hamas is a subsidiary, is a legitimate power in Jordan – as a political party – Hamas is seen as the dangerous armed wing of Moslem Brotherhood.
According to Palestinian sources, Jordan recently exploited the visit of a senior American figure who has open doors to both Trump and Biden to convince Mahmoud Abbas to draw back from his Hamas track and return to the negotiating table with Israel. The American promised to work with Biden, once elected, to renew the talks with Israel. Apparently, Jordan also applied its diplomacy in Washington in this regard.
During the fake talks between Fatah’s Rajoub and Hamas’ Aruri in Turkey, Mahmoud Abbas considered giving his approval to elections with a joint Hamas-Fatah list, but not actually implement elections, in order to bring fresh relevance to the long-forgotten and by-passed “Palestinian problem.” … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
The ‘Inside’ Palestinians vs. the Outsiders From Tunis
Algemeiner, Nov. 4, 2020
Tensions between Mohammad Dahlan supporters and Mahmoud Abbas loyalists have escalated in the West Bank. In Ramallah, Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces entered the al-Am’ari refugee camp, close to the city center, to arrest Dahlan supporters and quash the potential for an armed takeover of Ramallah. In the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, one of Dahlan’s senior commanders was killed on October 31.
The tensions came to an explosive head because of the peace agreements between Israel and the Gulf states, and reports that Dahlan is affiliated with the Emirates.
In eastern Jerusalem, Dahlan supporters were expelled from the ranks of “official” Fatah, but they are organizing separately. While Ramallah mobilizes violent underworld elements, the Dahlan people are organizing around former Orient House personnel, who represented the “inside” Palestinian leadership against the “outside” Fatah leaders from Tunis that arrived after the Oslo Accords.
It is a mistake to view the competition for the Palestinians’ leadership as just a battle of personalities. The example of eastern Jerusalem illustrates that the real struggle is between the local Palestinians and the “outside” Tunis leadership imposed on them during the Oslo Accords.
Israel could never have closed the Orient House in Jerusalem in 2001, which served as the PLO’s Jerusalem office under Jerusalemite Faisal Husseini, if not for the actions of the main PLO headquarters in Ramallah. Under Arafat, the Palestinian Authority had already abolished Orient House’s authority, minimized its standing, and clipped Husseini’s wings and budget. Israel was just the official locker of the gate. Faisal died in Kuwait in May 2001; Israel closed the gates in August 2001.
Today, the old Orient House is regrouping, and this time it is reforming to oppose the leadership in Ramallah. The issue of the struggle versus Dahlan also emerged as a significant topic in the recent fake reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas in Turkey. Fatah asked Hamas to cooperate against Dahlan, and Hamas refused!
There are many reasons for Hamas’ refusal, but one of the critical reasons is that Hamas also feels itself to be “inside” and not “outside.” In the Ramallah district, for example, the large Barghouti family is willing to cooperate with Hamas more than with the Muqata’a, the PA’s offices. The fact that Marwan Barghouti, the symbol of the internal leadership, is still languishing in prison and the Tunis leadership group has not lifted a finger for him says it all.
Assessing the Future of the Palestinian Arabs
Arutz Sheva, Nov.10, 2020
Israel’s recent peace agreements with three Muslim countries require major new assessments of the country’s strategic position. This will have to be carried out in conjunction with a re-verification of its political aims. Yet, very little of this can be seen so far in the Israeli public domain.
It would be a major mistake if in Israel the authorities do not simultaneously reflect on what these changes can mean for the future of the Palestinian Arabs. Only if Israel understands what may happen in the territories of these enemies can it best define its own actions.
The common wisdom producers, in particular in the Western world, keep repeating their ancient and poorly thought through mantras. The most frequent is: “Despite the peace agreement, Israel will still have to negotiate with the Palestinians about a two-state solution.”
One of the most ugly positions has been taken by the person who may soon be the democratic vice president of the United States – Kamala Harris. She has announced in an interview with the American Arab News that under a Biden administration, the US will renew its ties with the Palestinian Authority.
That is not so problematic. Yet beyond that Harris has said that the Biden administration will oppose “Israeli unilateral actions that undermine a two-state solution.” Particularly foul is her statement that the Biden administration will take immediate steps to restore “economic and humanitarian assistance.”
In practice this translates to the US again giving money to the Palestinian Authority, which financially awards murderers of Israelis — or their families if the terrorists are killed.
Nor should Harris’ Jewish husband Douglas Emhoff be cleared from wrong-doing. He went out to convince Jewish voters to vote for the Democrats while knowing that his wife wants to reward murderers of Jews.
American financial assistance to the Palestinians will also help them maintain their rejectionism.
Some hard-core common wisdom producers think that a two-state solution may take even more than a generation. It is important to understand how aberrant an idea that is, how radical a misjudgment in a dynamic world where changes are constantly occurring, to consider the idea that this approach will be the dominant one for decades.
A number of other possibilities have become increasingly possible thanks to the peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. In their wake, Arab criticism of the actions and attitude of the Palestinians and in particular its leadership has increased. The mention of the Palestinian corruption at the top and the lack of interest in the fate of the Palestinian Arab population is in some Arab circles no longer taboo.
There may be changes in funding attitudes of the Palestinians by countries such as the UAE, and perhaps even Saudi Arabia. Why would they continue to fund the crooked rejectionists? Yet other countries such as Qatar may continue their funding. Iran and Turkey will continue to incite. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Make the Palestinian Issue Central Again?
JNS, Nov. 18, 2020
According to a Nov. 12 op-ed by Nabil Amr, a confidant of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, published by the leading Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat: “Ballots with Biden’s name would have filled the boxes if placed in Ramallah.”
Amr goes on to state that “[the P.A.] bets are that Biden’s victory [will] resume ties with the U.S. administration, pumping money into the Palestinian Authority’s virtually empty coffers, reopening the PLO’s Washington Office and the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, tasked with dealing with Palestinian affairs. … The new administration will also go back to talking about the two-state solution and repudiate unilateral actions like annexation. … Trump’s administration took a totally different path.”
However, the “Palestine Firsters” among the future policymakers in Washington, D.C., are infatuated with the Palestinian cause, assuming that the Palestinian issue is central to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the overall Arab agenda. They have ignored the fact that Arabs view Palestinians as the role model for intra-Arab terrorism, subversion and ingratitude, seeing them as a low-level (and negative) priority on their agenda.
The Palestine Firsters should study Al-Arabiya’s two-hour Oct. 5 TV interview of Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, a senior member of the Saudi royal family and a former head of the Saudi intelligence services and national security council.
Contrary to the Palestine Firsters’ state of mind, Saudi cooperation with Israel—commercially, militarily and diplomatically—has expanded to an unprecedented degree, notwithstanding Palestinian condemnations, pressure and threats. Moreover, Saudi Arabia has been a chief engine behind the United Arab Emirates’, Bahrain’s and Sudan’s peace accords with Israel, which have bypassed the Palestinian issue, focusing on “what’s in it for the Arabs” in their cooperation with Israel.
The Palestine Firsters’ raft of peace initiatives was wrecked on the rocks of Middle East reality due to their erroneous assumption that the Palestinian issue was a core cause of Mideast turbulence, the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict and that the Arabs favored the establishment of a Palestinian state. They sacrificed Middle East reality on the altar of a supposed Palestinian centrality.
On the other hand, overcoming the temptation of such an overly simplistic assessment of the Palestinian issue yielded the successful conclusion of Israel’s peace treaties with Arab countries (Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan).
Thus, the farther are peace initiatives from the trap (veto) of the Palestinian issue, the closer they are to expanding the number of Israel-Arab peace treaties.
Moreover, the more relevant is the peace initiative to the particular Arab interest—where the threats of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda and Turkey, and the need to diversify the oil-based economy, dwarf the Palestinian issue—the stronger the incentive for the Arabs to conclude peace treaties with Israel.
The Palestinian track record has led pro-U.S., moderate Arab regimes to conclude that the proposed Palestinian state would add fuel to the Middle East fire, while Israel’s track record has played a key role in minimizing Middle East turbulence. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
For Further Reference:
WATCH: Israelis and Palestinians at Odds Over 2020 US Election: United With Israel, Nov. 4, 2020 — The American president has made many moves that have pleased most Israeli Jews, such as moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and – most recently – brokering the Abraham Accords.
Polls Show Palestinian, Islamic Orgs Played Key Role in Biden’s Victory: United With Israel, Nov. 16, 2020 — Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim institutions and activists played an important role in Joe Biden’s victory in the U.S.’ 2020 elections, especially in the swing states, according to a series of polls conducted in recent days.
IDF Strikes Hamas Targets in Response to Rocket Fire: Anna Ahronheim, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 15, 2020 — The Israeli military struck Hamas military infrastructure on Sunday morning in response to rocket fire launched towards the center of the country.
Israel’s Erekat Blunders: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 16, 2020 — Allowing senior Palestinian Arab politician Saeb Erekat into Israel to be hospitalized for treatment of coronavirus was a major government blunder. It needs to be analyzed for future reference.