As late as 2013, the Palestinian Authority (PA) was sending mixed messages about its relationship with the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS)—a movement that officially claims to be responding to “a call from Palestinian civil society.” The PA’s ambiguity ended by 2015, when the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Central Council (effectively indistinguishable from the PA) urged an international boycott of Israeli goods. David May comments:
In an October 2016 interview with the Arab Weekly, Nabil Shaath, President Mahmoud Abbas’s top foreign-affairs adviser, said that “the Palestinians can still defeat Israel” with the help of a consumer boycott. During his 2017 UN General Assembly speech, Abbas said, “I call on all states to end all forms of direct and indirect involvement with, and support for, the illegal Israeli colonial settlement regime.” . . .
Among the biggest proponents of BDS within Abbas’s inner circle is his Fatah deputy, Mahmoud al-Aloul, [who] has often declared that “all forms of resistance are legitimate,” an allusion to his support for violence against Israelis. . . . According to a March 2017 audio tape obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Aloul said, “We [i.e., the Palestinian government] have relations with BDS, our people work there, and we have delegates there. We cooperate with BDS on all levels, and not only with BDS: every group whose aim is to boycott Israel, we are with.” . . .
Since 2014, Abbas has eschewed direct talks with Israel, preferring to attack the Jewish state in the international arena and engage in ill-fated reconciliation attempts with the terrorist group Hamas. Now, with his back against the wall, as he finds himself isolated from the Arab states and from the Trump administration, Abbas seems to be embracing economic warfare against Israel as a national strategy. The decision, while perhaps a long time coming, seems to underscore that the aging Palestinian leader has run out of strategies. The move to support economic warfare will almost certainly prove to be an obstacle to peace and undermine Abbas’s remaining legitimacy.
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