By Visiting Kazakhstan, Mahmoud Abbas Continues the Palestinian Tradition of Backing the Wrong Side

Last week, Russia hosted an international summit in the Kazakh capital of Astana, which was attended by two Arab heads of state: Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and the emir of Kuwait. Ben-Dror Yemini notes that this show of support for Moscow is in line with Palestinian leaders’ longstanding habit of choosing the losing party to international conflicts—as well as the more morally repulsive one:

During World War II, the Palestinians faced the decision either to support the Axis alliance or the great Allied powers. They chose the German Nazi Reich. Their then-leader Mufti Amin al-Husseini spent the duration of the war in Berlin, and allegedly advised Hitler to destroy all Jews in the Arab world. Local Arab communities were ecstatic when the Nazi general Erwin Rommel invaded Egypt, and headed for Palestine.

An Arab businessman I met in Dubai told me that his father never stopped donating money to the Palestinian cause, believing their struggle was part of a common cultural identity. The donations stopped when then-Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat chose to support Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. As far as the Arab world was concerned, the Palestinians bit the hand that fed them.

When terror attacks were carried out in the U.S. by Islamic terrorist groups, the Palestinians celebrated in the same way they do when Israeli civilians are killed here in our country. But something has slowly begun to change in the way the Arab world views the Palestinians—otherwise the Abraham Accords wouldn’t have been signed in 2020.

It doesn’t matter how warm the embrace of the Biden administration is, or how many billions the European Union sends his way, Abbas opts to back a ruthless dictator—just like the mufti backed Hitler and like Arafat supported Saddam Hussein. It appears there’s no abandoning the old and failing Palestinian way.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Amin Haj al-Husseini, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinians, Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin

Recognizing a Palestinian State Won’t Help Palestinians, or Even Make Palestinian Statehood More Likely

While Shira Efron and Michael Koplow are more sanguine about the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and more critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, than I am, I found much worth considering in their recent article on the condition of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Particularly perceptive are their comments on the drive to grant diplomatic recognition to a fictive Palestinian state, a step taken by nine countries in the past few months, and almost as many in total as recognize Israel.

Efron and Koplow argue that this move isn’t a mere empty gesture, but one that would actually make things worse, while providing “no tangible benefits for Palestinians.”

In areas under its direct control—Areas A and B of the West Bank, comprising 40 percent of the territory—the PA struggles severely to provide services, livelihoods, and dignity to inhabitants. This is only partly due to its budgetary woes; it has also never established a properly functioning West Bank economy. President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn ninety next year, administers the PA almost exclusively by executive decrees, with little transparency or oversight. Security is a particular problem, as militants from different factions now openly defy the underfunded and undermotivated PA security forces in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm.

Turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) from a transitional authority into a permanent state with the stroke of a pen will not make [its] litany of problems go away. The risk that the state of Palestine would become a failed state is very real given the PA’s dysfunctional, insolvent status and its dearth of public legitimacy. Further declines in its ability to provide social services and maintain law and order could yield a situation in which warlords and gangs become de-facto rulers in some areas of the West Bank.

Otherwise, any steps toward realizing two states will be fanciful, built atop a crumbling foundation—and likely to help turn the West Bank into a third front in the current war.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood