Thursday, September 22, 2011

What's Behind Abbas's Bid?

Mahmoud Abbas's push for statehood is seen as his way of sticking it to Israel. But what if it's also his way of sticking it to Hamas (a suggestion I have yet to hear anyone in the media make)? That was my thought after reading this:
His support for achieving Palestinian statehood through the UN isn’t shared by Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement. Its leaders officially frown on the campaign, led by Palestinian AuthorityPresident Mahmoud Abbas from the West Bank, home to 2.6 million people versus 1.6 million in the Gaza Strip. Eighty-six percent of Gazans favor the Abbas push, a survey by a Palestinian research center found, more than in the West Bank.
After the UN recognition effort was formally announced in May, Hamas leaders condemned Abbas, known locally as Abu Mazen, for failing to consult with them. They said his willingness to accept a state that includes only the West Bank, Gaza and eastJerusalem showed weakness and that Israel should be taken over by Palestinians as well.
When Abbas, 76, speaks to the UN General Assembly today, he won’t mention that he represents barely two-thirds of Palestinians, or that the leadership of the other one-third is pledged to the destruction of Israel.
Well, when you're seeking to be elevated to statehood, genocide isn't exactly a selling point. That said, maybe he's hoping that the people in the other one-third will be so grateful to him if he's successful that they'll rise up and give Hamas the boot.

Update: If that's part of Abbas's rationale, it may not work out the way he's hoping. Jeffrey S. Tobin of the contentions blog writes:
While Abbas claims, somewhat disingenuously, his UN gambit is intended to revive peace talks with Israel, the vast majority of Palestinians see it as more than a symbolic gesture. They want to couple this demand with efforts to impose Palestinian sovereignty over all of the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem. And they seem willing to do so even if it means a violent confrontation with the Israeli army and the hundreds of thousands of Jews who live in communities the Palestinians say must be part of a Jew-free Palestinian state. The disconnect between their expectations and the fact Abbas’ New York adventure will change nothing on the ground is bound to lead to both violence and a dramatic downturn in Abbas’ popularity.

1 comment:

Carlos Perera said...

Actually, the PLO is as committed--at least in its Arabic declarations to the home crowd--to a _judenrein_ Palestine extending from the Jordan to the Mediterranean and from the Lebanon to Sinai; good grief, even its official emblem shows a map of "Palestine" covering exactly that territory. They are obviously playing a thinly-veiled, duplicitous head game with a West (apparently including a goodly portion of the Israeli populace) that is desperate to believe in a negotiated stable peace between Israel and the Arabs. I must say I am fascinated by the ease with which a gullible West falls for this, given how easily the veil is pierced . . . after all, Arabic-to-English, Hebrew, etc. translations of the PLO's internal propaganda are readily available (but I digress).

The PLO's patient approach is actually a much better long-term strategy than Hamas' "Kill them all! Kill them now!" fanaticism, which is impossible for all but the most deluded Leftnik intellectuals and their running dogs in the media to swallow.

Israel might actually be better off in the long run--though admittedly some unpleasant times would be experienced in the short run--if Hamas were to take over the whole Palestinian kit and caboodle. Hamas is spoiling for a standup fight, the kind the Palestinians just cannot win, whereas the PLO prefers to inflict death by a thousand cuts, in keeping with the "one thousand years for revenge" mentality that suffuses traditional Arab culture, and which Western rationality finds so hard to cope with.