Abbas Signals Abandonment of Unilateral Statehood Recognition Strategy

by Ben Cohen, ALGEMEINER

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a past UN General Assembly address. Photo: Screenshot.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas offered a strong signal on Wednesday that he would abandon the strategy he pursued in recent years seeking unilateral statehood recognition at international fora in place of peace talks with Israel.

At a joint White House press appearance with US President Donald Trump, Abbas — speaking through a translator — indicated that he would no longer favor unilateralism over negotiations.

“Mr. President,” he told Trump, “as far as a permanent solution, we believe that this is possible and able to be resolved…I also believe that we will be able to resolve the issue of the refugees and the issue of the prisoners. According to the international law…and based on what is stipulated in the previous treaties and agreements, that no unilateral steps must be taken to get ahead of the agreement and discussing those issues.”

Earlier on Wednesday, during a conference call organized by The Israel Project, Jonathan Schanzer — a specialist in Palestinian politics at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) think tank in Washington, DC — noted, “The Palestinians appear to have given up on recognition at the UN and at UN agencies to build toward a unilateral independence declaration. That is no longer happening.”

In Schanzer’s view, Abbas’ shift away from unilateralism reflects his determination to retain political power above all other considerations. “Every decision he has made since 2007 (when Abbas’ Fatah faction was violently ousted from the Gaza Strip by Hamas) has been about self-preservation,” Schanzer said.

After Trump succeeded Barack Obama in the White House, Schanzer explained, Abbas recognized that the new American president “needs him if he’s going to be successful.”

“Abbas wasn’t interested in doing this in the least under Obama,” Schanzer remarked. But now, he said, Abbas has embarked on a contest of “brinksmanship” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Since Palestinian cooperation with Trump would put additional pressure on the Israeli leader, Schanzer pointed out, “Abbas has little to lose.”

On the same conference call, Grant Rumley — a FDD research fellow — highlighted the role Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt played in reaching out to the Palestinians in the months prior to the Abbas’ current DC visit.

Rumley said that Greenblatt’s recent meeting with Arab businessmen in Jerusalem’s Old City boosted Palestinian confidence in Trump. “The symbolic nature of the president’s top Middle East guy engaging like this was a great sign for them,” Rumley said.

Having seen the positive meetings between Trump and other Arab leaders — including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi — Abbas understood that “this is a president that resonates with strong leaders and connects more with honey rather than vinegar,” Rumley stated.

But whether Abbas can satisfy Trump on issues like incitement and terrorism, which were featured prominently in the president’s remarks at Wednesday’s White House event, remains an open question. Not the least of Abbas’ problems, according to Rumley, is his low popularity among Palestinians.

This contrasts sharply with Marwan Barghouti — the Fatah terrorist leader jailed in Israel who is now leading a hunger strike that has entered its third week.

“Marwan is hands down the most popular figure in Palestinian society right now,” Rumley observed.

May 4, 2017 | 12 Comments » | 70 views

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12 Comments / 12 Comments

  1. Abbas is following the Sadat strategy to a tee as he has always done. This can’t be emphasized enough.

    Abbas is going by the book, as usual. These pundits and analysts just don’t get it. The Pal leadership has been consistently doctrinaire in their strategy and tactics. It’s not like the Soviet Union or Apartheid South Africa in their last days. There are no moderates. They’ve never been “recalcitrant.” Never were:

    ““Abbas wasn’t interested in doing this in the least under Obama,” Schanzer remarked. But now, he said, Abbas has embarked on a contest of “brinksmanship” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Since Palestinian cooperation with Trump would put additional pressure on the Israeli leader, Schanzer pointed out, “Abbas has little to lose.”

    “…3) Alienate the enemy from his friends or allies (by raising the
    spectre of war and economic catastrophe)….”

    ‘U.S.-Israeli coordination is no longer “total”… In view of this,
    Egypt has decided that the political response to the new reality
    requires that Egyptian-Soviet coordination should also stop being “total” and be confined only to the general outlines.
    Otherwise, the Israeli-U.S. contradictions would not continue
    and there would be again an Arab-Soviet front facing an
    Israeli-U.S. front
    . Egypt welcomes a certain degree of
    coordination with the Soviets provided that the Soviet reaction
    does not exceed the limits of Egypt’s visualization of the effect
    on mutual coordination between Tel Aviv and Washington.’”

    and

    “…East, pursues the policy of “peace in our time.” Sadat’s diplomacy has
    enabled the United States, with better grace, to embark upon a policy of
    weakening Israel to the point where her ability to defend herself will be
    undermined.”

    rom “Sadat’s Strategy’, Prof. Paul Eidelberg (1979)

    http://www.afsi.org/pamphlets/SadatsStrategy_Eidelberg%5B1%5D.pdf

  2. Abbas is following the Hitler-Sadat strategy to a tee as he has always done. This can’t be emphasized enough.

    Abbas is going by the book, as usual. These pundits and analysts just don’t get it. The Pal leadership has been consistently doctrinaire in their strategy and tactics. It’s not like the Soviet Union or Apartheid South Africa in their last days. There are no moderates. They’ve never been “recalcitrant.” Never were:

    ““Abbas wasn’t interested in doing this in the least under Obama,” Schanzer remarked. But now, he said, Abbas has embarked on a contest of “brinksmanship” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Since Palestinian cooperation with Trump would put additional pressure on the Israeli leader, Schanzer pointed out, “Abbas has little to lose.”

    “…3) Alienate the enemy from his friends or allies (by raising the
    spectre of war and economic catastrophe)….”

    ‘U.S.-Israeli coordination is no longer “total”… In view of this,
    Egypt has decided that the political response to the new reality
    requires that Egyptian-Soviet coordination should also stop being “total” and be confined only to the general outlines.
    Otherwise, the Israeli-U.S. contradictions would not continue
    and there would be again an Arab-Soviet front facing an
    Israeli-U.S. front
    . Egypt welcomes a certain degree of
    coordination with the Soviets provided that the Soviet reaction
    does not exceed the limits of Egypt’s visualization of the effect
    on mutual coordination between Tel Aviv and Washington.’”

    and

    “…East, pursues the policy of “peace in our time.” Sadat’s diplomacy has
    enabled the United States, with better grace, to embark upon a policy of
    weakening Israel to the point where her ability to defend herself will be
    undermined.”

    rom “Sadat’s Strategy’, Prof. Paul Eidelberg (1979)

    http://www.afsi.org/pamphlets/SadatsStrategy_Eidelberg%5B1%5D.pdf

  3. An important step from TeamTrump, getting Abbas to renounce

    unilateral statehood recognition at international for a.

    Abbas knows that Jerusalem is his next loss unless Abbas actually does resume face-to-face talks with Israel.

    And now Trump’s first state visits: to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican, in late May. Plus NATO and G-20, where Putin awaits.

    No kvetching please.

  4. :
    With the last president, in order for this guy to win US help in getting the Israelis to fold, he didn’t have to do anything.

    But now with the new president, in order to gain that same kind of assistance, he’s going to have to make a few nice-sounding comments.

    The poor bast’ed.

  5. @ Birdalone:
    I was going to say this immediately after but the Israpundit system apparently crashed, I got a system messsage saying that the server couldn’t be accessed.” Fortunately, I’ve been getting so many things erased because of glitches or having to give up because it took so long to load, I started writing and saving it in Google Docs first and then copying and pasting. I didn’t intend to post that twice*. Sometimes, while waiting forever for the damn waiting message to go away after posting, I noticed, in the past, that I could edit while I was waiting and it would just change it. I changed “Sadat strategy” to “Hitler-Sadat strategy” and hit post again, waited for a while and then hit “cancel.” Seriously, if the system’s gonna make you wait for a couple of hours while it loads — I mean just gettting to launch the main Israpundit site — shouldn’t it offer to call you back when it’s your turn, like some banks and airlines do? Or ask if you want some coffee while you’re waiting? Obviously it’s just an internet portal, but it’s nice to be asked. Here’s what I wanted to say before “I was so rrrudely interrrupted:”

    “Ahh, see now, we were premature in our disappointment. Everybody’s playing games. The Pals, like the Muslim Arabs who spawned them, having no real existence of their own have always copied us, albeit in murderous fashion. BB had to pretend to humor Obama to wait him out without a rupture in relations. Now, Abbas is doing the same thing with Trump. And Trump, well he’s not exactly showing his cards either, now, is he?

    “Trump presses Abbas to halt payments to terrorists”
    “U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, vows to do “whatever is necessary” to broker peace between Israel and Palestinians • Trump says peace can’t be imposed by U.S. — both sides need to work together.”

    “National security adviser H.R. McMaster described Trump’s foreign policy approach as “disruptive,” saying his unconventional ways could create an opportunity to help stabilize the Middle East.”

    http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=42169

    *Actually, thrice. I posted the link to that article before under another Abbas article plus the relevant Eidelberg on Sadat passage to underline it and it later deleted everything except my comment and the link to the book in pdf form. So, since I saw that Ted had posted the article, I tried again. And again.

    “This is a recording.”

    humorous metaphor. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    “Skit ‘Telephone’ Nichols and May”

    https://youtu.be/CidZon6Ga98

  6. Trump is no fool he understands’ Al-Taqiyya.’
    Palestinian hatred is the cause of their misery.

  7. xx

    Sebastien, “YOU ARE NOT ALONE”….. It’s a relief to know that others, even computer skilled like you, are having similar difficulties in accessing this site. I’ve been complaining to Ted like mad, for which I now feel very apologetic. I was using the Daily Digest, but it constantly froze and then displayed that 404 Error in heavy large black print. I shut off and switched on again several times before I gave up and deleted it. Just now, not being able to access israpundit in the normal way I thought to retrieve the Digest which, surprisingly, worked.

    I put it all down to the work going on to improve the site, but even normally it always takes about 15 secs or more, to bring the site up. The same for the “read on” and for everything internally, even posting this comment

  8. This is not the platform of The Republicans nor Trump. Very troubling.
    However, after Trump gets burned by Abbas, he may wake up. Overall no good. We know this kind of appeasement leads directly to terrorism. Trump tweeted, `…it was an Honor to meet Abbas……~
    How do you excuse that.

  9. @ Edgar G.:
    From time to time my host server gets overloaded and fails me. Either the site goes down for a few minutes or occasionally hours, before the problem is cleared up.

    Within a couple of days my newly designed site will go live. If that doesn’t solve the problem, I will move to another server.

  10. By playing up to Abbas, Trump is giving him the rope to hang himself.

    Don’t be concerned by his warm welcome. Its all part of the art of the deal.

  11. @ Edgar G.:
    Updated Torah: “Oh Jerusalem, may my server crash if I should forget thee.”

    I actually got a laugh from a Black Evangelical Christian handing out fliers on a street corner with this chestnut:

    “Oh Lord, I pray to you constantly, day and night, but my life is such a mess; my brother doesn’t even believe you exist, and his life is so easy. Why, Why, Why?”

    Voice Booms from on high:

    “Quit bugging me!”

Comments are closed.