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The PA will opt for losing Palestine if it means keeping its ‘authority’

Hamas supporters carry posters depicting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with a red cross during a protest in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip on 14 April 2017 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
Palestinian protesters carry posters depicting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on 14 April 2017 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas continues to provide proof of his worthlessness when it comes to political decision-making. If the US “continues” with the so-called deal of the century, Abbas has threatened only the possibility of a full boycott.

The US “peace plan”, which enhances Israel’s strategies for forcibly displacing Palestinians and rendering them refugees while taking away their right to be recognised as such, is not enough for the PA to implement its threats, dependent as it is upon security coordination with the occupation for its existence and function. In May 2014, Abbas described security coordination with Israel as “sacred”, despite policy differences with the Israeli government.

This coordination facilitated the targeting of dissenting Palestinians and resistance activists. In 2014, security coordination with Israel during Operation Brother’s Keeper resulted in the re-arrest of 50 former Palestinian prisoners who had been released in the Gilad Shalit exchange deal. One of the most appalling security coordination deals involved the PA in the killing of Palestinian activist and writer Basel Al-Araj in March 2017.

Yet other logistics are dependent upon security coordination, including the movement of goods and people. The PA’s political existence depends upon security coordination, while the Palestinian people bear the brunt of the violence associated with its surveillance.

READ: Does the Palestinian Authority really oppose Trump’s deal?

Abbas’s periodic threats to cease such coordination cannot be taken seriously. As far as quashing Palestinian political dissent and resistance, the agreement with Israel is the best that the coloniser and collaborator can get. In terms of political engagement, security coordination provides the PA with the much-needed funds to sustain its existence. The premise of state-building, albeit illusory, provides the backdrop for such funding to continue, as does the two-state compromise, also illusory.

Deal of the century, embassy relocation, and the Golan Heights - Israel surely can't believe their luck? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Deal of the century, embassy relocation, and the Golan Heights – Israel surely can’t believe their luck? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The international community’s response to US President Donald Trump’s plan announced last week was not a complete rejection. Leaving just a slight possibility that the world might find common ground over the two-state designation by the US isolates the PA more than ever. Its constant bleating to the UN and the EU to salvage the two-state imposition upon which international consensus has been reached will not save the PA’s diplomatic endeavours now. As far as the international community is concerned, the PA is even more coerced into retaining security coordination. There is common ground between the US and the international community in this, despite the previous hype attempting to pit one side against the other for the sole purpose of extending the two-state diplomacy further.

Abbas will not be taken seriously this time (if he ever was). If anything, his empty threats will bring further ridicule upon the PA, exposing its lack of autonomy. While the dynamics of Trump’s plan are indeed a threat to the PA, especially when considering the previous action undertaken by the US to isolate it diplomatically, Abbas faces a greater threat to his power if security coordination is ended permanently. The bottom line is that the PA will risk losing what remains of Palestinian land in order to maintain the façade of its “authority. After all, it has developed a notorious reputation for granting concessions to the occupation, but it will not jeopardise the crumbs of power thrown to it by Israel and the international community.

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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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