Mahmoud Abbas has reached for the sky. His latest responses to Donald Trump's calls that Jerusalem is Israeli, that Israel is not at the heart of Middle Eastern problems, and that UNRWA should be downsized is to pronounce that he no longer recognizes Israel and the Oslo Accords, and to damn the financial aid received from the United States. He's also claiming that Palestinians are Canaanites, whose capital was Jerusalem before the Jews arrived.
What he's overlooked is that many if not most of his people are the descendants of those who wandered in from surrounding countries in the most recent century and a half, i.e., since the Jews began to develop the local economy.
Palestinian officials have refused to meet with Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to the region.
Their Israeli Knesset Member allies among the largely Arab political parties will avoid the Knesset session when Pence speaks.The Ha'aretz cartoonist shows Abbas in the midst of rubble, and threatening to destroy Donald Trump. We've heard the 85 year old chair of a Palestinian Authority Commission reinforcing the rants of the 82 year old Abbas, alongside Palestinian opinion polls showing that the aged cadre has little support from the people it is claiming to lead. And need we remind ourselves that the President of the Palestinian National Authority, i.e., Abbas, somehow remains in office nine years and counting beyond the formal end of his presidential term? Comic opera?Yes, but endorsed by the heads of important governments who continue to participate in formal ceremonies suggesting their reception of Abbas as a national leader, albeit not of a place designated as a State. We shouldn't overlook the individuals moved by Abbas' rhetoric to heroic deeds meant to end the lives of Israelis, but more likely to end their own lives or their freedom.If enough Palestinians take their leader seriously, we might be in for much worse, i.e., serious violence from the West Bank, Gaza, and Lebanon. Iran will be pleased to finance and encourage the show. Israelis will die and the damage here will be severe, but we can bet it'll be nothing compared to the carnage and rubble in Palestine and Lebanon. And maybe in Iran. Who can tell, once the bell starts to ring? Should Donald Trump have provoked this round of nuttiness with his comments about Jerusalem that did nothing but express what most people should have known?
There's no answer that is obvious. And while we're wondering about who is the craziest or least fit to govern in Washington, Ramallah, Beirut, and Tehran, we shouldn't forget two of the people closest to Benjamin Netanyahu. Sara is scheduled to meet prosecutors It's a privilege accorded public figures before there is a final decision about a criminal indictment. Her lawyers are saying that it's all a farce. That she shouldn't be held personally responsible for what underlings did in the management of the official residence. A chorus of sycophants are accusing a driver of embarrassing Yair by recording and releasing to the media his humor about strippers, prostitutes, girl friends, and money.
We can assign to Mahmoud Abbas the crown for being the most foolish of people claiming to lead the politics.
Americans and Israelis--as well as the people of other well functioning regimes--are protected from the worst by the institutions designed to limit any one or small group of individuals.
Pity the Palestinians for the weakness of their institutions, and their greater exposure to nuttiness in high places.
The good news is that we're only a couple of months away from the opening of a high speed rail connection between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, that should clear main roads of traffic jams in the early mornings and evenings.
The NYSE has been at a all time high, and climbing further, despite warnings about a bubble that will burst.
There are also good signs here and there about unemployment, inflation, and economic projections.
Those obsessed with the plight of our neighbors should recognize that Palestinians aren't all that different in political rights and living standards from what prevails throughout the Third World.
American and other worthies enthused about fixing the world's miseries via BDS might pay closer attention to problems closer to home, which they are more likely to understand. American ghettos are as close to what Donald Trump describes as "shitholes" as anything in the West Bank or Gaza.
We can hope for a spread of rationality as we see it, without expecting it to happen.
-- Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus)Department of Political ScienceHebrew University of Jerusalemirashark@gmail.com