Four things Biden must know before meeting Abbas - opinion

Before discussing any agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, Biden must first demand that Abbas give real expression to the alleged the recognition of Israel’s existence.

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY head Mahmoud Abbas casts his vote in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election, in Ramallah. (photo credit: YOSSI ZAMIR/FLASH90)
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY head Mahmoud Abbas casts his vote in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election, in Ramallah.
(photo credit: YOSSI ZAMIR/FLASH90)

United States President Joe Biden is set to meet with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Friday. Here’s a short list of must knows for Biden.

No support

The first thing Biden must know is that Abbas enjoys almost no popular support. Abbas does not represent the Palestinian people, cannot make commitments in their name and has zero legitimacy to enter any type of agreement on behalf of the Palestinian people.

Abbas was originally elected PA chairman in 2005, soon after the death of Yasser Arafat. The elections were boycotted by Hamas and, according to the PA Central Elections Committee, of the 1,760,481 potential voters only 802,077 cast their ballot. Abbas won less than two thirds of the votes of those who bothered to vote. From the outset, Abbas was an unpopular leader lacking any real support or legitimacy.

As Palestinian Media Watch recently noted, a poll last month conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) found that 77% of Palestinians want Abbas to resign. Were Abbas to ever agree to new elections, he would lose.

A failure

The second thing Biden must know, is that Abbas is nothing but a failed dictator, clinging to power in breach of Palestinian law. The PA Basic Law – seen by many as the PA’s constitution – provides that the term in office of the PA chairman is limited to four years, with the option of one additional four year term, subject to re-election.

THEN-US vice president Joe Biden gestures as he walks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after their meeting in Ramallah in 2010. (credit: REUTERS)THEN-US vice president Joe Biden gestures as he walks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after their meeting in Ramallah in 2010. (credit: REUTERS)

Since 2005, Abbas has ignored PA law, refusing to hold elections for the position of PA chairman. Having risen to power in 2005 on a minority vote, Abbas is now in his 18th year of his first four-year term.

In 2006, Abbas’ Fatah party also lost in general elections for the Palestinian Parliament to Hamas, an internationally designated terror organization. The PCPSR poll quoted above also shows that if new elections were to be held again, Abbas’ Fatah would lose again. 

Using different excuses and scapegoating Israel, Abbas has ensured that no new elections for the Palestinian Parliament have been held since. Abbas’ antidemocratic moves achieved new heights in December, 2018, when he suddenly dissolved the PA Parliament that was elected in 2006, promising new elections within six months. Those elections never materialized.

While the US has poured billions of dollars of aid into creating a democratic Palestinian political system, in practice, the person most responsible for destroying that dream is none other than Abbas.

Pay-for-Slay policy

The third thing Biden must know is that it is Abbas who is responsible for the PA’s Pay-for-Slay policy. While the PA has been paying cash rewards to terrorists since its creation, it was Abbas who codified the practice and repeatedly raised the PA’s terror payments to the terrorist prisoners, released prisoners, wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists (so-called “Martyrs”). PMW has shown that Abbas has repeatedly reiterated this terror rewarding policy as a top PA priority.

THE PA Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners passed in December 2004, in the interim period between the rule of Arafat (until November 2004) and Abbas (January 2005). It was then Abbas, in 2006 and then again in 2010, who ordered a huge monthly salary hike for the terrorist prisoners and released prisoners. In a similar manner, it was Abbas who repeatedly (in 2007, 2009 and 2012) raised the monthly allowances paid to the wounded terrorists and the families of the dead terrorists.

The 2018 US Taylor Force Act conditions most of the US aid to the PA on the abolishment of the PA’s Pay-for-Slay policy. It is Abbas, who has repeatedly rejected the conditions of Congress for renewed US aid to the PA, choosing instead to continue rewarding terror. Had Abbas abandoned his terror promoting homicidal policy, terror would have dropped, and domestic and foreign investment in the PA would have skyrocketed.

Sadly, Abbas has declared consistently that he chooses terror over the best interests of the Palestinians. On numerous occasions Abbas has declared that even if his PA is left with “just one penny” in its coffers, he would pay that penny – first, to the terrorists. These statements are not just lip service, but rather implemented policy with Abbas’ and the PA, prioritizing its terror payments over providing education, welfare and health – including treatment for cancer – to law-abiding Palestinians.

Do they want to destroy Israel?

The fourth thing Biden must know is that none of the bodies headed by Abbas – the Palestine Liberation Organization, the PA and Fatah – have ever renounced their desire and goal to destroy Israel.

As PMW has conclusively shown, in every walk of Palestinian life, Abbas’ PA presents maps of “Palestine” to the Palestinian people that erase Israel’s very existence. PLO and Fatah organs and leaders openly express their demands to create a state of Palestine, which stretches “from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea” and whose borders ignore the existence of Israel. PLO members, funded by Abbas and the PA, include internationally designated terror organizations, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which still rejects all and any peace agreements with Israel.

Before discussing any further agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, Biden must first demand that Abbas give real expression to the alleged Palestinian recognition of Israel’s existence and right to exist, and order an immediate change in all the maps used, presented and erected by the PA, that depict Palestine erasing Israel.

For 18 years, Abbas has controlled the PA. He lacks any real credibility as the leader of the Palestinians and has only maintained his rule by refusing to hold elections. He is directly responsible for Pay-for-Slay and prioritizes promoting, incentivizing and rewarding terror over the best interests of the Palestinian people. 

Deceptively, Abbas has managed to persuade the world that he is a moderate, while simultaneously entrenching the Palestinian perception and promise that Israel will cease to exist. Biden would be wise to consider all this; otherwise his meeting with Abbas is simply a waste of time.

The writer, an IDF Lt. Col. (res.), is the director of legal strategies for Palestinian Media Watch. He served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps. In his last position, he served as director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria.