The Palestinian Authority Careens toward Its Next Political Crisis

April 12 2021

For the first time since 2006, Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and possibly Jerusalem are planning to vote in parliamentary elections, to be held on May 22. These are to be followed in June by a presidential election, in which the incumbent—Mahmoud Abbas, who was voted into office for a four-year term in 2005—plans to run. Both Abbas’s Fatah faction and its rival, Hamas, have agreed to participate in the race. Jonathan Schanzer comments:

Polls suggest that Hamas could emerge as the strongest party once again. More gridlock, dysfunction, and strife could follow. . . .With no restrictions on Hamas’s participation and as Abbas’s polling numbers flatline, the Palestinian Authority [PA] looks likely to be heading for a repeat of 2006, [where a Hamas victory led to a brief civil war and the severing of Gaza from the West Bank]. That said, a recent change in the Palestinian election law stipulating proportional representation in parliament will make outright control more difficult for one party. But a Palestinian Authority significantly influenced by Hamas is not just possible; it’s probable.

But the blame belongs to Abbas. In his sixteen years of absolute power, he has barred political challengers and shut down political debate. If Palestinian elections are held, they will occur in a political vacuum. The alternative was a patient process of institution-building along the lines of what Salam Fayyad, [who served as the PA prime minister from 2007-2013 and plans to run in the upcoming election], advocated. As he knew well, democracy is a system of governance that cannot be built on voting alone. Rather, it must be built on parties, structures, and the rigorous debate of ideas.

That’s not possible this time around. But Abbas could still postpone the elections or work with other parties to restrict terrorist participation. Should he reject both of these paths, a new Palestinian political crisis is slated to begin on May 22.

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Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Fatah, Hamas, Israeli Security, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad

 

The Significance of Mahmoud Abbas’s Holocaust Denial

Aug. 19 2022

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, during an official visit to Berlin, gave a joint press conference with the German chancellor Olaf Scholz, where he was asked by a journalist if he would apologize for the murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. (The relationship between the group that carried out the massacre and Abbas’s Fatah party remains murky.) Abbas instead responded by ranting about the “50 Holocausts” perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians. Stephen Pollard comments:

Scholz’s response to that? He shook Abbas’s hand and ended the press conference.

Reading yet another column pointing out that Scholz is a dunderhead isn’t, I grant you, the most useful of ways to spend an August afternoon, so let’s leave the German chancellor there, save to say that he eventually issued a statement hours later, after an eruption of fury from his fellow countrymen, saying that “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. For us Germans in particular, any trivialization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” Which only goes to show that late is actually no better than never.

The real issue, in Pollard’s view, is the West’s willful blindness about Abbas, who wrote a doctoral thesis at a Soviet university blaming “Zionists” for the Holocaust and claiming that a mere million Jews were killed by the Nazis—notions he has reiterated publicly as recently as 2013.

On Wednesday, [Abbas] “clarified” his remarks in Berlin, saying that “the Holocaust is the most heinous crime in modern human history.” Credulous fools have again ignored what Abbas actually means by that.

It’s time we stopped projecting what we want Abbas to be and focused on what he actually is, using his own words. In a speech in 2018 he informed us that Israel is a “colonialist project that had nothing to do with Judaism”—to such an extent that European Jews chose to stay in their homes and be murdered rather than live in Palestine. Do I have to point out the moral degeneracy of such a proposition? It would seem so, given the persistent refusal of so many to take Abbas for what he actually is.

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Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anti-Semitism, Germany, Holocaust denial, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority