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Abbas and his 'optimism' spell danger for Palestinians

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in the West Bank, 25 May 2021 [ALEX BRANDON/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in the West Bank, 25 May 2021 [ALEX BRANDON/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is arguably more partial to fairy tales than politics. His latest address to the Fatah Revolutionary Council sums up all that is wrong with his leadership: incompetence; collaborative complicity with Israel and any other political entity that offers the PA a shard of security; and, above all, complete dissociation from the realities which Palestinians are facing as a result of Israel's settler-colonialism and the PA's repression and exploitation of the people's legitimate anti-colonial resistance.

"Despite the difficulty of the conditions we live in," Abbas rambled on, "I am more optimistic today about the establishment of the State of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital." He gave no reason for his optimism, other than that Jerusalem is at the core of the Palestinian struggle. But if the PA has already squandered Jerusalem, as the "Palestine Papers" revealed in 2011, the only relationship Abbas sees in respect of the city is symbolic, along with opportunities to exploit its significance and centrality to the real Palestinian resistance.

Abbas blamed international inaction and Israel's policies for "the sensitivity of the period we are living." How about adding that the PA encourages both forms of oppression, through the two-state compromise and security coordination with the Israelis? His recent meeting with Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz encouraged both stances. With the PA completely subjugated to Israel's violations of international law which the international community overlooks time after time after time, why would Abbas expect any form of intervention when he has already agreed to the international consensus to deprive the Palestinian people of their land, Palestine? Abbas would have been well placed to speak out against violations if he had opposed them in the first place, but the violence of the PA's own security forces against the Palestinian people testifies to the contrary.

READ: Abbas excludes close aides to Marwan Barghouti from Fatah

It is only within his ranks of sycophants that Abbas is able to get away with drivel such as his speech, in which, as usual, revolutionary rhetoric was appropriated and exploited. "Since the beginning of the revolution, we have been facing many conspiracies because of our stances and our resilience… and because we do not allow anyone to interfere in our affairs and we do not allow ourselves to interfere in anyone's affairs."

Palestinian anti-colonial resistance has faced many setbacks, many of them imposed by the PA itself. And who believes for an instant that Israel, the US and EU do not "interfere" in occupied Palestine? Abbas needs their interference to survive. Indeed, external interference by the US and Israel ensures that the PA remains entrenched at the helm of Palestinian politics where it does not deserve to be. Such interference works well for the PA, because democracy remains a distant dream for the people of Palestine. Moreover, the PA's security services have been well trained — by US General Keith Dayton; yet more interference — to interfere in the rights of the Palestinian people to independence and autonomy by clamping down on legitimate resistance to the Israeli occupation.

The PA's official news agency, Wafa, did not report on any strategies that Abbas would be implementing. It would be fair to say that rather than a journalist's omission, the PA leader has nothing to offer going forward apart from empty threats that fail spectacularly, such as his 2021 UN General Assembly speech in which he gave Israel a meaningless ultimatum. Twisting facts to come up with such exploitative rhetoric indicates a leadership that is trying to conceal its cornered status. With no inclination to at least consider alternatives other than appeasing external actors and lying to the public, the PA with Abbas at its helm is a major political conspiracy against the Palestinian people.

READ: Even if the meeting did not occur

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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