The PLO Has Renounced Its Agreements with Israel—and Demonstrated Its Own Irrelevance

Last month, a senior figure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) declared that the group’s governing body had decided “to renounce all the commitments of the Oslo Accords,” along with any other “agreements with the state of Israel,” and end security cooperation with the Israeli government. It was the PLO that was party to the Oslo Accords, which in turn created the Palestinian Authority (PA) to govern in the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank. Thus, as Maurice Hirsch explains, this decision should be significant. But reality is somewhat different:

[D]espite the ostensible severity of the . . . decision, nothing on the ground has changed. Neither the PLO nor the PA has announced any severing of the security coordination with Israel, and they certainly did not decide to stop taking the hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes Israel collects every month and gives to the PA.

In stark contrast, in May 2020, the PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas decided alone . . . to renounce all agreements with Israel, including those regarding security coordination and tax revenues. That decision held for six months, after which the coordination was renewed and the PA agreed to accept the billions of shekels (over a billion dollars) in tax revenue that had accrued during that period.

PLO declarations aside, the reality is that everyone—including the Palestinians themselves—knows that the PLO is a defunct institution that lacks any real legitimacy. Both the PLO and the PA are run as a de-facto dictatorship, in which decisions are made by one person. . . . No one truly puts any stock in the decisions made by the PLO, and the organization itself is incapable of enforcing the decisions it and its institutions make.

Surveys conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research show even declining Palestinian support for the PLO as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.” The March 2019 survey showed that only 54 percent of those surveyed still viewed the PLO as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinians, down from 69 percent in 2006.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Mahmoud Abbas, Oslo Accords, Palestinian Authority, PLO

 

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy