Abbas is trapped

Barry Rubin, THE JERUSALEM POST Jan. 20, 2008

T.S. Eliot wrote memorably in The Hollow Men: Between the idea / And the reality / Between the motion / And the act / Falls the shadow.

In the case of the peace process and all the great ideas for fixing everything in Arab-Israel relations, the shadow has been Palestinian leaders’ unwillingness – and now also inability – to make a compromise agreement ending the conflict. Close examination of the movement’s ideology, organization and structure shows why this is true.

Exactly 40 years ago, in 1968, Yasser Arafat and Fatah took over. That same year, Arafat laid down two principles that have dominated the movement ever since.

First, in July 1968 he changed the PLO Charter, emphasizing the group was no longer a follower of Arab states but both independent and the struggles’ leader. But at the same time he stated: “We are an extension of the hundred million Arabs.” It proved hard to have it both ways, though Arafat usually managed the tension adequately.

Today, the Arab world’s real support for Fatah and for the Palestinians generally is minimal, though many in the West still don’t notice that. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas recently said, “Our Arab relations are at their best. We do not have any problems with any Arab country.” CONTINUE

Well, not exactly.

January 20, 2008 | Comments »

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