The White House is reportedly planning to slash funding to UNRWA, the UN organization that supports Palestinian refugees and their descendants; at the same time, it appears that Washington is prepared to start circumventing Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, who after fifteen years in power has proved himself unwilling to negotiate with Israel. David Weinberg praises both steps, beginning with the latter:
At a meeting of the PLO Central Council [on August 19], Abbas called on Palestinians to “keep the ground aflame with popular resistance” against Israel—code words for violence, if not terrorism. Abbas’s main foreign-policy deputy, the PLO secretary-general Saeb Erekat, went on to lead the council in declaring support for “heroic” Hamas-led attacks against Israeli troops and civilians across the Gaza border, while condemning Hamas for negotiating a truce with Israel. . . .
Abbas has fled from real negotiation and compromise with Israel at every opportunity over the past fifteen years. He has espoused maximalist positions, stoked hatred of Israelis and Jews, inculcated a culture that denies Jewish history and national identity, venerated terrorists, and pushed the criminalization of Israel internationally. He has driven most Israelis to the realization . . . that there is no reasonable peace deal with the Palestinians to be had at this time. . . .
[Thus] it’s no wonder that the emerging American peace initiative seeks to bypass Abbas and his PLO rejectionists and perhaps to initiate a long process in which Palestinians act to replace their past-sell-date rulers—effectively, dictators focused on their own survival in power—with more reasonable leaders. . . .
To this end, the Trump administration’s hardnosed approach to the Palestinians, including its cut-off of aid to UNRWA, is useful. . . . UNRWA is a root problem. It perpetuates the Palestinian dream of return to homes in Jaffa and Haifa, ultimately destroying the Jewish state. . . . Change also must come in Israeli policy. The IDF’s coordinator of government activities in the territories has been UNRWA’s main defender in recent years—because the defense establishment believes that international aid dollars flowing through UNRWA buys quiet in the territories. . . . Such Israeli short-sightedness must be replaced by a longer view, which means phasing out the agency.