Last week, the UN secretary-general António Guterres visited Israel, Ramallah, and Gaza without meeting with the Palestinian Authority president, who was conveniently in Turkey to see President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Pinḥas Inbari suggests that Abbas simply didn’t want to hear what Guterres had to say:
Guterres’s meeting, [Abbas’s aides believed], was to be a continuation of the visit of the U.S. delegation led by Jared Kushner that pressured Abbas to “behave himself” at the [upcoming meeting of the UN General Assembly]. That meant not addressing the assembly with extreme anti-Israeli messages, not applying to the Security Council for status as an independent state in the UN, and not applying to UN agencies for membership.
The moderate Arab countries, . . . Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, . . . are pressuring Abbas along the same lines. . . . The point these Arab states are emphasizing is that “we are with Trump.” They demand the Palestinians align with their pro-Trump policy. . . .
There was a second reason why Mahmoud Abbas avoided seeing the UN secretary-general: Gaza. He knew that Guterres was about to plead with him to soften the PA’s sanctions against it, and he did not want to hear that message.
Indeed, the purpose of Abbas’s Turkey visit was to secure support for his Gaza policy, and, according to our sources, that visit failed. Abbas sought to tell Erdogan to handle Gaza only through Ramallah channels. He wanted to block Hamas’s bypassing of his sanctions by applying directly to Turkey for help. Erdogan, however, suggested instead that he will act as mediator because he has good relations “with both sides.” Hence, Erdogan put his fellow Muslim Brotherhood members, Hamas, on the same level with Abbas and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.