The rhetoric of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas fools nobody. Less than a week after meeting retired Mossad officer Ari Shaul and reiterating his concerns about Israel’s demography, Abbas confirmed to Knesset members that a PA delegation is in Washington for talks with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The aftermath of the US decision to terminate its funding of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is unravelling swiftly, signalling that it is time to take Mahmoud Abbas seriously with regard to his intention to strip Palestinians of their legitimate rights to Palestine. This also comes with the obligation to realise how isolated the Palestinian cause has become in terms of political recognition.
Palestinians are being exploited in a cycle that dismisses them as a humanitarian issue while political mileage is gained at their expense by Israel’s collaborators. That is why Abbas has no qualms about pretending to be affronted about Jerusalem and, to a lesser extent, America’s cutting of donations to UNRWA, while maintaining close ties with the CIA, which is part of the PA’s foundations.
Equally revealing is the fact that both the US and the PA are in agreement with regards to applying measures that will affect the Palestinians adversely. According to reports, Abbas stated that he wants to maintain “security coordination and intelligence sharing with the US.” Furthermore, it was also reported that “the Trump administration has decided to maintain the funding it gives to the Palestinian security services.”
Behind such political games is the PA’s spectacular refusal to protect Palestinians in any way whatsoever, despite having 70,000 security personnel at its disposal; this, of course, ties in with US and Israeli interests. Through the US Security Coordinator (USSC), the PA has received both funding and training for its security agencies to oppress Palestinians under the guise of maintaining order and combating “terrorism”. In 2009, it was reported that Palestinian security forces in the occupied West Bank were working in close collaboration with the CIA. An unnamed senior Western official stated, “The [Central Intelligence] Agency consider them as their property, those two Palestinian services.” That was a reference to the Preventive Security Organisation and the General Intelligence Service. The CIA was also involved in the planning of training for new PA security service recruits in 2002.
Normalising past decisions has paved the way for overt violations to happen unhindered. It is now common practice for the announcement of violations to be used as diversions from important issues. In this case, the justified outrage over US attempts to eliminate avenues of hope and support for Palestinian refugees is overshadowing the fact that the PA has an agenda that is contrary to the aspirations and rights of the people of Palestine. Secondly, the divisive attitude adopted by the international community, which has reiterated the intention to continue funding UNRWA but remained silent on PA atrocities, affirms its approval of Abbas’s tactics.
Without security coordination with the Israeli occupation and its backers, and its associated perks for the PA, its illusory “authority” would crumble. Whether Abbas speaks of the CIA, NATO or US armed forces, the ultimate aim is the same; to remove Palestinians from their own history, by force if necessary.
For many years, Abbas has been derided as weak and submissive. Little attention has been given to how PA dependency upon external actors – a weakness in terms of the Palestinian national cause – has concocted its own aberration of power, in terms of crushing Palestinian liberation to facilitate and consolidate Israel’s colonial expansion across all of historic Palestine. The Palestinian people and their aspirations are utterly dispensable as far as the PA and its leadership are concerned.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.