Unbroken chain of failure

Depressingly, there are no signs that when Abbas departs he will be replaced by someone who will break the chain of failed Palestinian leaders.

February 21, 2018 21:54
3 minute read.
Unbroken chain of failure

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations, February 2018. (photo credit: LUCAS JACKSON / REUTERS)


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In his speech Tuesday before the UN Security Council, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas followed in the footsteps of former failed Palestinian leaders.

He sought to place the blame on others – the British, the Americans, the Israelis, anyone but the Palestinians – instead of charting a course for the future. He distorted history to hide the many failures and tragic mistakes made by Palestinian political leadership throughout the generations. And he lied about the role he and his political cronies play on a daily basis in perpetuating conflict, inciting violence and advocating terrorism against Israelis.

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Abbas claimed, for instance, that before the arrival of the British, the Palestinians “built their own cities and homeland and made contributions to humanity and civilization witnessed by the world.” He claimed that Palestinians had their own “schools, hospitals, cultural organizations, theaters, libraries, newspapers, publishing houses, economic organizations, businesses and banks and wide regional and international influence.”

But the reality is that Palestinians lived under Ottoman rule, hardly identified as a distinct people, and maintained an underdeveloped economy based on outdated agricultural techniques. It was thanks to British rule and Palestine Arabs reaction to the burgeoning Jewish nationalist movement that the Palestinian people began to identify as such.

British colonialism didn’t prevent the creation of a Palestinian state, as Abbas claimed; the bad decisions of the Palestinian political leadership did: siding with the Nazis before 1945; rejecting the 1947 UN Partition Plan that called for the creation of both a Jewish and an Arab state; launching a war against the fledgling State of Israel.

That Abbas has the gall to tell lies before the very institution that sought to provide his people with a national homeland is a testament to how much the UN has changed and how easy it is to rewrite history.

No, it is not the British government that “bears responsibility for the catastrophic consequences inflicted on the Palestinian people,” as Abbas would have us believe. It is the Palestinian leadership and its fatally flawed decisions. And Abbas is yet another perpetrator of this self-inflicted and entirely unnecessary suffering.

Palestinian institutions – propped up by a steady stream of donations from well-meaning nations – are not known for “their merit and work” and are not “based on the rule of law, accountability and transparency” as Abbas claimed before the Security Council. They are known for their corruption, their ineptitude, their undemocratic rule.

Palestinians youths are not raised in “an environment of tolerance, coexistence of civilizations and nondiscrimination,” but are indoctrinated to believe they are victims of British colonialism, US imperialism and Israeli occupation.

Israelis are seen as legitimate targets of terrorist attacks. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out after Abbas’s speech, the PA continues to pay NIS 1.2 billion annually to the families of imprisoned or dead Palestinian terrorists who murdered or attacked Israeli citizens.

Abbas envisions the creation of an international forum to replace America as the primary force behind a peace agreement, because US President Donald Trump dared to recognize the simple fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

This shows Abbas’s lack of appreciation for the massive aid that the US has provided to the Palestinians that far outstrips that of any other country. It also ignores the US’s role as a superpower that alone is capable of providing both sides the security needed to make painful concessions.

Abbas believes that he will be more successful at stalling for time with a huge, amorphous “international forum” that is guided by abstract concepts of “international law,” ignoring the concrete realities on the ground that prevent Israelis and Palestinians from resolving their differences.

Abbas is a leader without a democratic mandate who has failed to lead his people on a pragmatic path toward self-determination. He is unable to end internal rifts among warring Palestinian groups – Hamas in Gaza, refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and Fatah rule in the West Bank – let alone provide a vision for an Israeli-Palestinian peace. Depressingly, there are no signs that when Abbas departs he will be replaced by someone who will break the chain of failed Palestinian leaders.

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