Many people with their heads in the clouds anticipated that the Obama administration would finally swing US foreign policy towards advocating justice, rather than capitulation, for the Palestinians. In diplomatic circles, the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah has repeated ad nauseum its belief that President Obama would finally listen to both sides and take into consideration the huge imbalance in concessions demanded from Israel and the PA.
It was therefore hoped (admittedly not by many) that Abbasshole would present a forceful case for Palestinian rights in his meeting with Obama, particularly since both men continue to preach the two-state solution as the only viable solution for this conflict. The idea of a Palestinian state in the West Bank is no more than a pipe dream, of course, with unprecedented Israeli settlement construction making 40% of the land inaccessible to its residents and owners, and the system of checkpoints, walls, closures and Israeli-only highways bisecting the West Bank and dividing it into six distinct cantons.
The Obama administration’s stance on these settlements (“We believe settlement construction should stop, but we’re definitely not going to do shit to make sure it does”) seems to have hoodwinked Abbasshole into thinking that time is on his side. Rather than making a forceful case to a President who may be slightly more sympathetic than the previous one (not saying much), the illegal head of the PA and self proclaimed President of the Nonexistent State of Palestine has instead outlined his strategy-sheer and utter passivity.
From the Washington Post:
Abbas and his team fully expect that Netanyahu will never agree to the full settlement freeze — if he did, his center-right coalition would almost certainly collapse. So they plan to sit back and watch while U.S. pressure slowly squeezes the Israeli prime minister from office. “It will take a couple of years,” one official breezily predicted. Abbas rejects the notion that he should make any comparable concession — such as recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, which would imply renunciation of any large-scale resettlement of refugees.
Instead, he says, he will remain passive. “I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements,” he said. “Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life.“
What the fuck? Let’s start with the first part-that Abbas predicts it will take two years for Obama to get Israel to stop settlement construction. Does he not realize that settlement construction means…settlement construction? That things on the ground will not stay the way they are? That he is giving Israel the green light to steal and plunder even more of the West Bank, even more of its resources, to wall in even more of its people? And what on earth guarantees that the settlements will cease in two years?
This man is either completely bonkers, or the dirtiest, slimiest form of collaborator. Take your pick, I’ve already made mine. But what galls me most is that last line, that people in the West Bank are living a normal life.
I have been trapped in the West Bank for four years now, unable to leave because of laws and arbitrary rules set by the illegal Israeli occupation. Life here is oppressive and insecure. The Israeli military steals land and steals lives as it pleases, Israeli settlers abuse and plunder and pillage without reprimand, and there is no way to guarantee your safety as a Palestinian. Trade is severely curtailed, unemployment is rife, poverty levels are high-all direct consequences of the Israeli occupation. Settlers set fire to fields, while the military closes more farms off behind walls and fences from their owners. Palestinians are arrested across the West Bank on a daily basis without due process, extra judicial killings are the modus operandi of the undercover Israeli death squads that roam the West Bank and over 600 road blocks and checkpoint choke the movement of average Palestinians between their own towns, villages and refugee camps.
But perhaps I’m being too harsh on the old Zionist. After all, he doesn’t actually spend much time in the West Bank, traveling abroad two thirds of each year. When he is here, he barely leaves the Green Zone of the West Bank, Ramallah, travelling in his heavily armed motorcade almost exclusively from his villa, yards away from the mokhabarat building where Hamas affiliates are routinely tortured and in at least one case killed, to the Moqata’a, five minutes away. So for him, life in the West Bank probably does seem good.
For the people he is so utterly out of touch with, life in the West Bank is a terrible existence. Because of that, it would be futile and ultimately dangerous to assume that Mahmoud Abbas can deliver anything for the Palestinian people, or that he can ever adequately represent their cause.