Palestinians Won’t Have a State Unless Their Leaders Try to Build One

Tomorrow, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs will arrive in Ramallah to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA). In a phone call last week, Abbas—who was elected to a four-year term in 2005 and has not stood for reelection since—reportedly told Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “I am done. This is the end.” Kobi Michael and Ori Wertman comment on Abbas’s strategic impasse:

The manifest weakness of Mahmoud Abbas’s leadership—and the PA’s failures in the field of governance—thus pose for Israel, and the world, a poor but inevitable choice among sub-optimal conflict management, the alternative of localized centers of power, or the dangerous rise to dominance of more radical elements. . . . [B]ased on the evidence of the last 28 years, . . . the basic drivers for this failure and the reasons why it cannot easily be undone can be found in the PA’s own conduct.

The main cause of failure, . . . can be identified in the failure of the Palestinian leadership—first of Yasir Arafat and then Mahmoud Abbas, each in his own distinct way—to carry out the necessary transition from a revolutionary movement . . . to a real and painstaking process of state-building. This would have required a change in the aspects of consciousness, organization, and political behavior, which did not come about.

The PA, which failed to read the global and regional map and continued to adhere to the internationalization strategy while deepening the rift and disconnect with both Israel and the U.S., has also failed to change its ways regarding the other reasons that have led to its failure. As a result, the Palestinian economy has continued to falter and its dependence on the Israeli economy is still complete; civil society has remained paralyzed and persecuted; and state institutions continue to be characterized largely by dysfunction saturated with corruption and nepotism.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Jerusalem Strategic Tribune

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Yasir Arafat

 

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?

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Dispatch

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