Reforming the Palestinian Authority Will Take a Lot More Than a New Prime Minister

Commenting on the recent resignation of the Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet—while the octogenarian president Mahmoud Abbas continues to show no interest in stepping down—and Western pressure for reform, Ghaith al-Omari writes:

In the longer term, the presence of a reformed, capable PA is also necessary for achieving a two-state solution or even taking steps in that direction. Otherwise, the outcome would likely be another failed state in a region rife with such destabilizing models. Two questions will determine whether these conditions are met. First, will the new prime minister be empowered to undertake the necessary reforms? . . . The more independent Shtayyeh’s replacement is, the more confidence there will be in the prime minister’s ability to confront Abbas and senior Fatah figures, many of whom will likely try to undermine meaningful reform.

Second, who will control the cabinet-formation process? . . .

Recent polls indicate that around 60 percent of Palestinians want to dissolve the PA and around 90 percent want Abbas to resign. Appointing a new prime minister may not be enough to fix this wider legitimacy problem, especially if there are doubts about the next cabinet’s independence and empowerment.

Besides all this, both Palestinians and Israelis would be better off if the PA stopped its constant incitement against Jews and Israel and its policy of rewarding terrorism with cash.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority


How America Sowed the Seeds of the Current Middle East Crisis in 2015

Analyzing the recent direct Iranian attack on Israel, and Israel’s security situation more generally, Michael Oren looks to the 2015 agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program. That, and President Biden’s efforts to resurrect the deal after Donald Trump left it, are in his view the source of the current crisis:

Of the original motivations for the deal—blocking Iran’s path to the bomb and transforming Iran into a peaceful nation—neither remained. All Biden was left with was the ability to kick the can down the road and to uphold Barack Obama’s singular foreign-policy achievement.

In order to achieve that result, the administration has repeatedly refused to punish Iran for its malign actions:

Historians will survey this inexplicable record and wonder how the United States not only allowed Iran repeatedly to assault its citizens, soldiers, and allies but consistently rewarded it for doing so. They may well conclude that in a desperate effort to avoid getting dragged into a regional Middle Eastern war, the U.S. might well have precipitated one.

While America’s friends in the Middle East, especially Israel, have every reason to feel grateful for the vital assistance they received in intercepting Iran’s missile and drone onslaught, they might also ask what the U.S. can now do differently to deter Iran from further aggression. . . . Tehran will see this weekend’s direct attack on Israel as a victory—their own—for their ability to continue threatening Israel and destabilizing the Middle East with impunity.

Israel, of course, must respond differently. Our target cannot simply be the Iranian proxies that surround our country and that have waged war on us since October 7, but, as the Saudis call it, “the head of the snake.”

Read more at Free Press

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy