Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)

The PA Leadership Insists on Shooting Itself in the Foot

Al-Anba, Kuwait, April 16

I don’t know why the leadership of the Palestinian Authority insists on shooting itself in the foot, especially in its dealings with internal Palestinian affairs. Numerous decisions and actions are adopted by the Palestinian leadership, but most of them are contradictory to the will of Palestinian factions and the majority of the Palestinian public. Even when the PLO tries to define its national goals, it succeeds in misunderstanding what most Palestinians want. The Palestinian national project suffers from a major crisis because of the lack of vision by its leadership and institutions. It is also suffering from growing challenges and risks, especially since President Donald Trump entered the White House and began targeting the Palestinians on almost every front. Abbas has insisted, and continues to insist, on rejecting the call for a united leadership framework for the Palestinian factions. For the past 14 years, since the Cairo Agreement in 2005, and over the past eight years, since the reconciliation agreement in 2011, Abbas has not put a single brick into rebuilding the PLO. He continues to prevent the smooth and fair participation of Palestinian factions such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the PLO’s bodies and institutions. Despite understandings reached by the Palestinian factions in Beirut in January 2017, regarding convening the Palestinian National Council with the participation of all Palestinian factions, Abbas insisted that the Council come together under the auspices of the Israeli Occupation in Ramallah in April 2018. Only the PLO participated. This was in complete contrast to the Palestinian consensus. Throughout 2018, Abbas and the Fatah leadership continued to ignore the most prominent Palestinian forces. The same applies to the sanctions imposed by Abbas and his team on the Gaza Strip two years ago: the termination of services, the reduction of the salaries of thousands of employees, and the failure to pay the electricity bill. Furthermore, there is unequivocal Palestinian consensus to stop security coordination with the Israeli Occupation. However, Abbas and his team are determined to go against these trends and decisions, while Abbas has consistently affirmed the “sanctity” of this coordination and his strict commitment to it. The inevitable question is, therefore, why is Abbas so committed to these terrible policies? Not only do they cause harm to the Palestinian Authority itself, but they also severely damage the Palestinian national cause. Why insist on increasing internal division among the Palestinian people and among the Palestinian factions? Above all, why insist on these policies that do not serve anyone, except for the Occupation? – Mohsen Mohammed Saleh

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