Mahmoud Abbas May Have Chosen to End His Career in Violence

On Wednesday, terrorists in the West Bank opened fire at an IDF checkpoint, killing Bar Falah, a thirty-year-old major. Falah’s comrades quickly killed the shooters, one of whom was a Palestinian Authority (PA) security officer. Last week, thanks to good luck and the vigilance of police, a major terrorist attack in Tel Aviv was thwarted. Yoni Ben Menachem believes these and many other recent incidents are not so much the result of the aging PA president Mahmoud Abbas losing his grip on the reins of power, but of his decision to resume violence:

Abbas is trying to blackmail Israel and the U.S.; he sees the new wave of terrorism that broke out independently in the field as a lever of pressure on Israel in everything related to creating a “political horizon” and renewing negotiations about the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Abbas, who has reached the end of his political career, is not interested in calming the situation. So long as the armed terrorists do not threaten the Muqata in Ramallah, [the Palestinian equivalent of the White House], and he has American and European backing as well as that of moderate Arab countries, he feels that this is the right time to squeeze major concessions out of Israel. . . .

Next week the PA president will go to New York to deliver his annual speech at the UN General Assembly. The PA has been engaged in a political campaign for several weeks now with the aim of obtaining the agreement of the United Nations to recognize “Palestine” with full membership in the organization. Today it has the status of an observer state. Israel strongly opposes this move. President Biden also opposes it, and last week he sent Barbara Leaf, a U.S. assistant secretary of state, to Ramallah. Abbas refused to meet with her, but in a meeting with Hussein al-Sheikh, [his deputy and likely successor], she clarified her position that the U.S. might veto the Palestinian request in the Security Council.

Abbas is playing with fire and if he doesn’t come to his senses he may end his rule just like Yasir Arafat: Operation Protective Shield in 2002 resulted [effectively in the end of Yasir Arafat’s political power]. If Abas pushes Israel into a corner, another IDF operation in Judea and Samaria in the style of Protective Shield may bring him closer to the end of his rule.

Read more at Arab Expert

More about: Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict