May 24, 2018
- The Real Palestinian Catastrophe – Elliott Abrams
The main achievement of the Gaza border attacks is to remind Israelis that Hamas considers all of Israel’s borders illegitimate. The dispute with Hamas isn’t over settlements or the “occupation” or Gaza itself. It is over Israel’s existence.
Yasser Arafat’s Fatah party rules in the West Bank and controls both the Palestinian Authority and the PLO. On April 30, PA president and PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas called a meeting of the Palestine National Council (PNC), the PLO’s legislative body. After he delivered a three-hour speech replete with explanations that the Jews have no real historical tie to the Middle East and that European anti-Semitism was caused by the Jews, Abbas had himself reelected by acclamation. The entire scene was a throwback to Castro or Ceausescu.
In 2003, Abbas looked like an alternative to Arafat and a potential Israeli peace partner. Fifteen years later those hopes are long gone, which helps explain why the Trump administration has not yet released its peace plan: Abbas would reject it instantly.
Whatever the criticism, Israelis will certainly not abandon the West Bank to chaos or to a possible Hamas takeover. Today the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state is simply too dangerous to Israel and to Jordan to be contemplated. The mishandling of Palestinian affairs by their leaders has been the true Palestinian catastrophe. The writer, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, handled Middle East affairs at the U.S. National Security Council from 2001 to 2009. (Weekly Standard)