Both Statehood and Terrorism: Abbas’s Two-Track Strategy

Last week, Mahmoud Abbas gained the approval of the Arab League for his plan to declare a Palestinian state unilaterally. Initial measures involve obtaining recognition from international bodies, with Jordan reportedly agreeing to submit a resolution to the UN Security Council. No less intrinsic to Abbas’s plan, Jonathan D. Halevi explains, is ongoing terrorism:

[T]he Palestinian Authority is determined, even at the price of a run-in with the United States and Israel, to advance a unilateral political process that is aimed against Israel and has the full support of the Arab League. The rioting and terror in Jerusalem and the West Bank, which are being encouraged by the Palestinian Authority, serve this political process as a form of pressure on Israel and also are aimed at spurring the international community’s intervention. Not only has Abbas not condemned the wave of Palestinian anti-Israeli terror but, in traditional fashion, his speeches have reiterated the formula of “praise to the pure martyrs, freedom to the heroic prisoners, and rapid recovery to the heroic wounded.” What this adds up to is backing for every Palestinian who takes part in the struggle against Israel, including terrorist murderers.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Arab League, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian statehood, Palestinian terror, United Nations


As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas