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The Palestinian Authority and its political dreams

The final day of 2014 witnessed an Arab and Palestinian failure at the UN Security Council, which rejected a resolution that called upon the UN to set a specific date for ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land occupied in 1967. After that setback, the PA applied to join international organisations, at the top of which is the International Criminal Court (ICC). Israel and the US are angry, and threaten the "poor" PA with destruction if it goes ahead with its attempts to join the international community groups.

On 10 November last year I wrote an article called "Security Council and the Palestinian Case" after Mahmoud Abbas threatened to go to the UN to protest against Israeli practices in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Israel's violations included preventing Muslims from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque to pray and attacks by Jewish settlers against Islamic holy sites while guarded by Israeli security forces and the army. I said at the time that approaching the Security Council would be ineffective and will not have any impact against Israel; instead, Israel must be deterred on the ground using all means available.

Since the signing of the Oslo agreement in 1993, Israel has become more vicious against the Palestinians, despite all of the concessions granted by the PA. Security coordination alone means that PA personnel protect Israeli settlements and cities from any act of resistance by Palestinians who are defending their land, homes and farms. The PA has more than 180,000 security officers, all of whom have been recruited to protect Israel from any Palestinian resistance. In the West Bank last month, Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ain was killed along with more than sixty others. At the beginning of this year, an Israeli settler ran over a Palestinian child and Israeli security forces arrested some students. On 31 December Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians across the West Bank. Last Thursday, in north Ramallah, settlers attacked farms, bulldozing them and uprooting more than 5,000 olive trees; around 300 acres of agricultural land was destroyed. All of these barbaric acts against Palestinians and their property took place in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem; yet more happens in the Gaza Strip, but the PA and its 180,000 security forces only protest verbally against Israel.

The dreadful silence of Mahmoud Abbas and the PA towards Israel's crimes has convinced successive Israeli governments that it is not important to reach a final agreement with the Palestinians as long as their own citizens enjoy a safe and stable environment. Internationally Israel is protected by American power, whether in the Security Council or in international organisations. As a result, it is said that the number of Jews migrating to Israel has increased over the past year.

All of this convinces me that the PA must work towards achieving national unity between the West Bank and Gaza Strip as quickly as possible, and not pay any attention to Israeli and American threats regarding Hamas. Reports claim that Abbas told one Arab leader last August that "negotiations with Israel have failed; 20 years of negotiations regarding the 1967 borders have not moved forward even by one step."

Mahmoud Abbas clearly has many doubts and illusions as a result of faulty Israeli and Palestinian intelligence. He claims to have information from Israel that it has arrested 93 Hamas members who were planning a coup against him. He also insists that Hamas and Mohamed Dahlan are conspiring against him and that the Islamic movement is receiving financial support from the ex-Fatah official to carry out projects in Gaza. Why would Hamas cooperate with Dahlan? I don't believe that Hamas is in sync with Dahlan in any Palestinian affairs, but Abbas's dispute with his former colleague makes him suspicious about anything he does.

In the end, if Abbas wants to achieve a real victory for the Palestinian people he will have to end the PA's security coordination with Israel. He should also acknowledge that Israel's war against the people of Gaza and Hamas last year was a war against all Palestinians with whom Fatah and the PLO must stand. In addition, the PA should work to end the blockade of the Gaza Strip through an agreement with the Egyptian government, and Mahmoud Abbas should end his doubts about Hamas and Islamic Jihad. If he is to get the international community to assume its responsibilities towards the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, then Mahmoud Abbas must mend the rift with the people of Gaza and seek national unity.

Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadid, 5 January, 2015

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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