Opinion: Though shunning the current U.S. administration and its emissaries is understandable as a policy, Abbas is refusing to ensure there is someone in Washington that can speak for him, risking Palestinian interests even further

What is happening with Mahmoud Abbas? I asked one of his associates why is he making one mistake after the other.

I wouldn’t call them mistakes, he said. He is doing what he has always done, for years, It is just that the world around him has changed.

Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: GettyImages)
Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: GettyImages)


If there is anything the Palestinian Authority should have understood by now, it is that intruding into Israel’s elections will cause more damage than good.

By doing so Abbas has handed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a weapon that he wasted no time using.

In the past Israeli leaders from the center-left parties would occasionally go to Ramallah to visit the Palestinian leader no matter how strained relations were. Today they are staying far away .

The warm hugs with Noa Rothman, granddaughter of slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and today a candidate for Knesset from the Democratic Camp, were not perceived as the right thing to do on the Palestinian side as well as on the Israeli.

The Oslo accords signed by Rabin are even more disliked on the Palestinian side then they are in Israel.

“It is a knife in the back of the nation,” said sources in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

“Abu Mazen (Abbas) could not find time to meet with the families of martyrs during Eid al-Adha (the Muslim holiday celebrated this month) but found time to meet with Rabin’s granddaughter,” said officials in Hamas.

And a PLO source told me off the record: “How can you condemn an Arab country for adopting a policy of normalization with Israel when the Palestinian president shares a warm embrace with an Israeli candidate for Knesset?”
Rothman herself demonstrated a questionable relationship with reality when she reported that Abbas, who has not set foot in Gaza in over a decade, promised to help with securing Israel captive Avera Mengistu’s release from the hands of Hamas.

Meanwhile, Abbas is undergoing a transformation in Israeli public opinion, becoming more like the reviled late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Mahmoud Abbas at Memorial event for Yasser Arafat (Photo: AFP)
Mahmoud Abbas at Memorial event for Yasser Arafat (Photo: AFP)


Some of the criticism is well earned, but some is the result of a calculated campaign to delegitimize any future Israeli agreement with the PA.

Withholding tax revenues from Ramallah because of stipends to families of convicted terrorists or “martyrs” killed in clashes with Israeli security forces caused the defense establishment a massive headache.

Israeli defense officials consider close cooperation with their Palestinian counterparts an interest of Israel.

However, raising awareness of the financial support the PA has been providing terrorists is one of the more effective propaganda measures the right-wing government has come up with.

Another strange decision by Abbas was cancelling a planned meeting with 31 Republican members of Congress who were visiting the area on an AIPAC-sponsored trip.

The president had met earlier with Democratic members of the trip, who raised difficult questions regarding the funding of terror, a subject that seems to haunt him.

Boycotting the White House and its emissaries is one thing, but rejecting the opportunity to express his positions and policies to legislators who were delivered to his door by a pro-Israeli Washington lobby, is reflective of a certain disconnect and perhaps a sense of despair of any help from the American system.

“We are probably not worthy of his time,” said one of the GOP lawmakers.

The Palestinians are relying on the vocal anti-Israeli wing of the Democratic party and are avoiding 90% of Washington – and that is not a smart policy.

Members of Congress Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib (Photo: AFP)
Members of Congress Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib (Photo: AFP)


Abbas is hemorrhaging Palestinian national assets: The Gaza Strip, which means half the population; U.S. political and financial support; international media attention; and finally, the unconditional support of Arab nations, which is now in a thing of the past.

Loss of control of the Temple Mount can also be added to the list. It is Jordan on the one hand and the Islamists on the other who are now setting the tone where the holy sites are concerned.

Abbas has been left with just a leadership role and his principles. At least for now.

As reported by Ynetnews