The Palestinian Authority’s Refusal to Attend the Bahrain Conference Is Irresponsible and Self-Defeating

June 21 2019

Next week, a region-wide “economic workshop” is scheduled to take place in Manama to discuss, inter alia, avenues for improving economic conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has announced that his government will boycott the conference—which is co-sponsored by the U.S.—and Palestinian businesses seem to have given in to pressure from Abbas’s government to do the same. Alan Baker decries the futility of Abbas’s approach, which also likely violates the Oslo Accords:

Given the [current poor] economic situation of the Palestinians, logic would dictate a positive and co-operative attitude to any plan aimed at improving their economic stability and prosperity. Logic would similarly dictate that any responsible Palestinian leadership and concerned public would welcome with open arms a serious initiative aimed at developing their abilities, enhancing their resources, and encouraging investments and economic initiatives—especially since the . . . workshop has been convened without prejudice to any ensuing political negotiation process with Israel.

The wide range of Palestinian commitments [made] throughout the peace process [also] points to a clear obligation on the part of the Palestinian leadership to advance, encourage, support, and participate in all projects and initiatives aimed at furthering economic cooperation for the sake of the stability and prosperity of the Palestinian public.

By boycotting the Manama meeting and by conducting a concerted political campaign to misrepresent and undermine it, the Palestinian leadership is irresponsibly undermining its basic responsibilities to seek to improve the welfare and prosperity of its people through good governance, [and] violating its solemn commitments in the context of the peace process, both vis-à-vis Israel and vis-à-vis those countries and regional organs that supported, endorsed, and witnessed the Oslo Accords, including Egypt, Jordan, the United States, the European Union, Russia, Norway, and the United Nations.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Bahrain, Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, Mahmoud Abbas, Oslo Accords, Palestinian Authority

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism