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Abbas in Washington… what does it have in store for the cause?

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on 3 May, 2017 in Washington, DC. [Thaer Ganaim/Apaimages]
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on 3 May, 2017 in Washington, DC. [Thaer Ganaim/Apaimages]

Today is the day Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will have the chance to meet with the head of the White House, unless the schedule has been changed. This meeting raises a number of questions, especially in light of the talk about the so-called “deal of the century” being chased by Trump. It seems that either he convinced himself or someone convinced him he would be able to make this deal, especially since everyone before him failed to do so and he believes he can go down in history as being able to achieve this.

The truth of the matter is that Trump merely calling Abbas was a dream come true for Abbas, regardless of the details of this call. This is because he had felt that his position was unstable and had lost the most important movers and shakers of the Palestinian situation, most importantly America, that had shown that it wants to replace him with Dahlan if he didn’t do what he was told, both with regards to the Palestinian cause and to the arrangement of the internal Palestinian home.

Mohammad Dahlan

Mohammed Dahlan

Trump’s call was a new climax for Abbas, who some began to regard as a lost cause. This is where the dilemma lies and concerns arise, because turning the major issues into personal issues did not start with Abbas and could easily be repeated with him.

Read: Trump to work as ‘mediator’ for Middle East peace

This is where the danger lies, because Abbas has to pay Trump the price of this rescue, in other words, the new recognition of his legitimacy, which opened the doors of the Arab capitals for him once again. He must also remember that he is dealing with a businessman (I mean Trump), before being a politician, and a trade-off is necessary.

Certainly Trump’s talk about the “deal of the century” is nothing more than an illusion, or perhaps he is incapable of realising that this is a very complicated conflict, and that he will not succeed in achieving what others have failed to achieve. Hence, it would be futile to talk about reaching a comprehensive deal, something the Zionists in the US, their mother country, are aware of.

What Netanyahu wants is a “regional solution”, i.e. Abbas’ approval, with Arab legitimacy, of a settlement project that consists of a state within the borders of the Wall, and for this temporary situation to become the permanent situation by remaining in a border conflict and nothing else.

If Abbas does not agree to this, Trump will probably ask him to start a new round of negotiations by waiving the condition of a settlement freeze. This will open the doors to Arab normalisation with Israel in the same manner we witnessed following the signing of the Oslo Accords and Wadi Araba agreement.

Read: Gaza between Abbas’s escalation and Trump’s conditions

Image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 11 February 2017 [Facebok]

Image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 11 February 2017 [Facebook]

Abbas will say that he rejects temporary solutions, but he has accepted them on the ground, as what he has been doing ever since he came to power on the ruins of the late Arafat, is reinforce Sharon’s project, known as the transitional solution, or interim state, without an actual recognition. The result will be the same, whether he publically accepts this or continues to reinforce it on the ground but refuses to say so.

If he accepts this, then he will open the door for those who come after him, as hoped by some Arab axes, to say they are just following the path of their predecessor, and that a concession of the constants did not happen, even if the concession practically occurred by turning the conflict into a border dispute, nothing more.

This is what Netanyahu wants, and it has become a consensus in the Zionist circles. However, the Palestinian cause has its own practices making it impossible to liquidate. The Palestinian people, with the support of the nation’s masses, will find an opportunity to confront this path if it occurs, and they will thwart it, as they thwarted past projects, even if it passes through some of its early stages.

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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