How (and Why) Palestinian Leaders Scare the World

What Others Are Saying

From the publisher of jewishinfoNews. The following article was originally published by Gatestone Institute and republished with permission by jewishinfoNews on January 15, 2016.

by Khaled Abu Toameh

  • Abbas has perfected the art of financial extortion. Every Monday and Thursday, as it were, the Palestinian Authority (PA) president has threatened to resign and/or dissolve the PA. This tactic has a twofold aim: cold hard European and American cash, and a gaze directed away from the PA’s turmoil.
  • The PA wants the following response from the international community: “Oh my God, we must do something to salvage the peace process. We need to put even more pressure on these Israelis before matters get out of hand.”
  • Abbas wants the world’s eyes on Israel — and Israel alone. That way, the fierce behind-the-scenes battle for succession that has been raging among the top brass of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank will stay far from the limelight.
  • The PA seeks a solution imposed upon Israel by the international community. Why negotiate when Western powers are prepared to do everything to see Israel brought to its knees?

What do you do when your home has become hell?

If you are Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, you divert attention from the mess as fast as possible.

For a start, Abbas is trying to scare the international community into believing that without increased pressure on Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) will be forced to resort to unilateral measures, such as attempting to create new “facts on the ground” in the West Bank.

Next, Abbas is threatening to renew the Palestinian call for convening an international conference for peace in the Middle East and to step up rhetorical attacks against Israel.

Finally, Abbas has perfected the art of financial extortion. Every Monday and Thursday, as it were, the PA president has threatened to resign and/or dissolve the PA. This tactic has a twofold aim: cold hard European and American cash and a gaze directed away from the PA’s turmoil.

Abbas wants the world’s eyes on Israel — and Israel alone. That way, the fierce behind-the-scenes battle for succession that has been raging among the top brass of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank will stay far from the limelight.

This week, Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, announced that the Palestinian Authority was coordinating with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan in order to create “facts on the ground” to establish a Palestinian state.

This announcement was designed to tighten the international screws on Israel. The threat to “create facts on the ground” was a direct message to the US and the EU that they had better push Israel farther — and faster — or the Palestinians would be left with no recourse but to build in Area C of the West Bank, currently under exclusive Israeli control.

Yet Palestinian building in Area C is not just a threat. In fact, and thanks to the financial and logistical aid of the EU, Palestinians have already begun building that project in some parts of the West Bank.

What the PA wants is the following response from the international community: “Oh my God, we must do something to salvage the peace process. We need to put even more pressure on these Israelis before matters get out of hand.”

The PA seeks a solution imposed upon Israel by the international community. This has been quite clear for some time, but the PA spokesman’s recent announcement leaves no room for doubt. Abbas has no incentive whatsoever to return to the negotiating table with Israel. Why negotiate when Western powers are prepared to do everything to see Israel brought to its knees?

As part of this strategy, Abbas last week renewed his call for an international conference to discuss “ways of solving the Palestinian cause.” According to the PA president, the international community that has reached understandings that Syria, Libya and Iran should be able to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This is nothing but an Abbas scare-tactics redux. Radical Islam and terrorism, so we are to believe, will be conquered by solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The president of the PA desires to implant in the minds of the West a direct link between the Islamic State terror group (ISIS) and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But Abbas might have done well to check in with his sources. ISIS and the other terror groups currently destroying the Arab world do not give a damn about Israeli settlements or checkpoints. Nor is a two-state solution on their docket. These groups have a different agenda — to conquer the world and establish an Islamic empire. En route to achieving their aim, the Muslim terrorists will kill “apostates” and “infidels” including Abbas and other Arab leaders.

“President Abbas’s call for an international conference reflects the state of confusion and wallowing he is in,” remarked former Palestinian cabinet minister Hassan Asfour. “The appeal is designed to search for an unclear and jellied formula and it has no legitimacy.” Asfour noted that there was no need for such a conference, in light of the fact that the UN already recognized a Palestinian state in 2012.

So what exactly is Abbas trying to achieve? For the most part, Palestinian political analysts are convinced that the eighty-year-old president, who is about to enter the eleventh year of his four-year term in office, is simply seeking to hold onto the reins of power. The best way to do so, they argue, is by keeping up the buzz about international conferences and potential Palestinian unilateral moves on the ground.

In order to run the Palestinian show until his last day, Abbas needs to divert attention from the battle of succession that has hit the spotlight in the past few days. Top Fatah officials have been pushing him to appoint a deputy president, in the hope of forestalling a power vacuum upon his departure from the scene for one reason or another.

These officials have long censured Abbas for running the PA as if it were his private fiefdom. Among the critics are Jibril Rajoub, Tawkif Tirawi, Mohamed Dahlan, Salam Fayyad and Yasser Abed Rabbo — all of whom regard themselves as potential successors to his seat.

Mohamed Dahlan (right), a former PA security commander in the Gaza Strip, is one of the major critics and rivals of PA President Mahmoud Abbas (left), and hopes to succeed him in the presidency. (Image sources: U.S. State Dept., M. Dahlan Office)

Meanwhile, Abbas’s preferred candidate for deputy president appears to be none other than Saeb Erekat, the PLO’s chief negotiator who was recently upgraded to the post of PLO Secretary-General. This choice, however, is not going down well with Fatah officials, many of whom have expressed their opposition to the attempt to pave the way for Erekat to become the next Palestinian president.

A direct link does exist, then, but it is not, as Abbas contends, one between ISIS and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The true direct link is between the urgency Abbas feels at home to prop up a crumbling empire and his intimidation of the international community. In other words, when Abbas feels the heat, Israel is thrown into the fire.

Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.

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(Feature image credit: english.al-akhbar.com)

* * *

SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

OVER SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

Thank God there’s an Israel!

بفضل الله، هناك إسرائيل

ہم اسرائیل کے پاس خدا کا شکر ہے

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A message for President Obama. Please don’t hold your breath for too long!

President Obama

Comment

“A few days ago in a conversation with about 30 members of the House of Representatives. I said that I would rather commit suicide than hurt Israel…”  – President Jimmy Carter, October 22, 1977 speech to the Democratic National Committee.

Next week, President Obama sets sail for Israel. As Khaled Abu Toameh writes below, “It is hard to find one Palestinian who believes that US President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to the region will lead to a breakthrough in the Middle East ‘peace process.'”

Perhaps we might find two Israeli Jews somewhere between Metula in the north and Eilat in the south who believe the President’s visit will produce some grounds for hope. But, we don’t suggest the President holds his breath for too long.

Here’s what Khaled Abu Toameh has to say about it all.

The Palestinians: Ten Points The U.S. Needs To Consider

Originally Published by Gatestone Institute

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Khaled Abu ToamehEven if a Palestinian State were established, Hamas and other groups would work to take control of it, and, with the help of Iran and Al-Qaeda, turn it into a launching pad for attacking Israel and other neighbors.

It is hard to find one Palestinian who believes that US President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to the region will lead to a breakthrough in the Middle East “peace process.”

Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah said they too are not pinning any hopes on Obama’s visit. “The situation is much more complicated than Obama thinks,” remarked a top PA official in a briefing ahead of the US president’s visit. “We do not believe we will see any changes on the ground.”

But as Obama prepares to visit the region, he would do well to take the following facts into consideration:

President Obama a1. Any agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would be rejected by a large number of Palestinians, especially Palestinian refugees who continue to insist on the “right of return” to their former villages inside Israel.

2. A majority of Arabs and Muslims would also reject a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, especially in wake of the “Arab Spring,” which has seen the rise of Islamists to power in a number of Arab countries. It is hard to see how the ruling Muslim Brotherhood organization in Egypt, for example, would welcome any peace agreement with the “Zionist entity.”

President Obama 3. Even if a Palestinian state were established in the West Bank, Hamas and other groups would work to take control of it and, with the help of Iran and Al-Qaeda, turn it into a launching pad for attacking Israel and other neighbors. The Palestinian Authority is in power thanks to the presence of the Israel Defense Force in the West Bank. Ironically, ending Israeli “occupation” would also bring an end to Abbas’s rule.

4. Most Palestinians do not see the US as an honest broker. Any agreement reached under the auspices of the US Administration would be received with utmost suspicion. Already, many Palestinian activists are waging a campaign on Facebook and Twitter to “prevent Obama from desecrating the land of Palestine.” The activists have called for “huge demonstrations” in the West Bank to protest against Obama’s visit; they are even preparing shoes to throw at his motorcade.

President Obama 5. With the exception of Fatah, all Palestinian organizations — primarily Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine — would automatically reject any peace agreement with Israel for various reasons. Some of these groups want to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth, while others believe that Israel would never accept all their demands, such as a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and the release of all Palestinian prisoners.

6. The Palestinians are divided into two camps not only geographically, but also ideologically. The first is a radical camp that does not want to deliver on any front: it believes that Israel has no right to exist. The second is the less-radical camp, or the “moderates.” This second camp is also not able to deliver: it does not have enough control over the Palestinian territories, let alone a mandate from the Palestinians.

President Obama 7. Abbas is opposed to the idea of reaching an interim agreement with Israel that would lead to the establishment of a temporary Palestinian state on the parts of the West Bank that are controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

8. Even the Palestinian Authority appears to be divided into two camps, one headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the second led by Abbas. Tensions between the two have been mounting in wake of the resignation of Palestinian Finance Minister Nabil Qassis. While Abbas has rejected the resignation, Fayyad has accepted it, triggering a crisis with the Palestinian Authority president.

President Obama 9. Many Palestinians, including Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership, are opposed to the resumption of peace talks unless Israel releases a significant number of Palestinian prisoners, halts all construction in settlements, as well as east Jerusalem, and accepts the pre-1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state.

10. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does not have a mandate from his people to reach any agreement with Israel: his term in office expired in January 2009.

Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades. He studied at Hebrew University and began his career as a reporter by working for a PLO-affiliated newspaper in Jerusalem. Abu Toameh currently works for the international media, serving as the ‘eyes and ears’ of foreign journalists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

(Photo credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Israel becoming largest employer of Palestinians in Middle East

SPECIAL REPORT

How Palestinians Keep Shooting Themselves in the Foot

By Hisham Jarallah

Instead of using the billions of dollars that were given to them by Americans and Europeans to create new jobs, the PLO leadership stole most of the funds and later blamed Israel for damaging the Palestinian economy.

As the Arab countries continue to impose strict employment restrictions on Palestinians, Israel is opening its doors to Palestinian workers from the West Bank. Palestinians say, in fact, that Israel is becoming one of the largest employers of Palestinians in the Middle East.

Figures released this week by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in Ramallah showed that at least 80,000 Palestinians were now working in Israel and even in Jewish settlements.

In the first quarter of 2012, according to the bureau, there were only 77,000 Palestinians working in Israel and the settlements. In the second quarter of the ear, the number grew to 80,000; and earlier this week, the Israeli government issued work permits to another 10,000 Palestinians from the West Bank.

The move has been received with a sigh of relief among Palestinians, especially as it comes on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan.

The figures also showed that Palestinians employed by Israelis earn more than those who work for their Palestinian brethren in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A Palestinian construction laborer often earns more than a senior ministry official in the Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank or the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip.

What is interesting about the bureau’s report is that the number of Palestinians working in Jewish settlements has increased despite calls from the Palestinian Authority to boycott the settlements.

Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad’s attempts to prevent the workers from going to the settlements has failed largely because they were not able to provide them with alternative employment. Despite the billions of dollars that were showered on the Palestinian Authority in recent years by the international community, Abbas and Fayyad still have not been able to solve the problem of unemployment in the Palestinian territories.

The Arab world, which once used to absorb hundreds of thousands of Palestinian employees, is beginning to close its doors in the face of Palestinians. Many of the Arab countries accuse the Palestinians of being ungrateful. Others do not want to see Palestinians at all: they consider Palestinians troublemakers and a source of instability.

Some Arab countries such as Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait and Jordan even impose apartheid-like regulations and laws that prevent Palestinians from earning a decent living.

The Palestinians could have built one of the best economies in the region after the beginning of the peace process in 1993. But instead of using the billions of dollars that were given to them by Americans and Europeans to create new jobs, the PLO leadership stole most of the funds and later blamed Israel for damaging the Palestinian economy.

Suicide bombings and financial and administrative corruption are the main reason why the Palestinian economy remains as weak as ever. The Palestinians are experts in shooting themselves in the foot and then blaming Israel.

Hisham Jarallah is a journalist based in the West Bank

The above article is reprinted with kind permission of  Gatestone Institute.

(Photo credit: sytereitz)

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