New Round of Palestinian Games

David Meir-Levi writes and lectures on Middle East topics, until recently in the History Department of San Jose State University.


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On April 17, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority (PA), delivered to Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a letter listing the PA’s demands in anticipation of peace negotiations, demands with which Israel must comply or Abbas will eschew further negotiations and instead “seek the full and complete implementation of international law as it pertains to the powers and responsibilities of Israel as occupying power in all of the occupied Palestinian territory.” In other words, Abbas will go back to the UN and the International Criminal Court to seek redress against Israel’s putative criminal activities.  Much like an obstreperous child on the playground, Abbas tells Netanyahu that either he play the game according to Abbas’ rules or Abbas will tell the teacher what a bad boy Israel has been.  It would be a comical farce were not so many lives at stake.

Abbas goes on to threaten, albeit obliquely, that because Israel has not played the game according to Abbas’ demands, he might just go ahead and dissolve the PA, throwing back upon Israel all of the responsibilities for administration in the West Bank: “For the Palestinian Authority—now stripped of all meaningful authority—cannot continue to honor agreements while Israel refuses to even acknowledge its commitments. The P.A. is no longer as was agreed and this situation cannot continue.”  So in addition to tattling to the teacher, he will also take his ball and go home.

Hopefully, Netanyahu will not be moved by such puerile posturing.

None of this is new.  After being rebuffed at the UN last year, Abbas floated informal threats about dismantling the PA, and even took the idea to the Fatah Central Committee (FCC). The FCC supported the idea but no decision was taken. When questioned while in Japan about Yossi Beilin’s open letter in Foreign Policy magazine on April 4, in which Beilin urged Abbas to carry out his threat to dissolve the PA as a way to express his exasperation with Netanyahu’s “intransigence,” Abbas quickly back-tracked and told journalists that “The PA is an achievement and we must not dissolve it but strengthen it.” But if that were true, why would the FCC support the idea? Perhaps because they know that Abbas has no intention of dissolving the PA.

In order to understand what is going on here, we must recognize the perils to Israel that are implied in both of Abbas’ threats.

Abbas knows that unlike former U.S. Presidents, Obama has already threatened to withhold a US veto in the UN if a Security Council resolution could create an existential threat to Israel.  Abbas’ second try at the UN might work, especially if this timethe PA demand is pared down to recognition with the status of a non-member state (a big step above the “observer status” that the PA now has, but below full membership), and especially if Obama wins a second term and no longer needs to worry about losing some of his Jewish vote.  Moreover, although the PA’s attempt to bring war-crime accusations against Israel at the International Criminal Court ended in failure with the decision that the court had no jurisdiction, as the present writer noted earlier, the chief prosecutor outlined for the PA the directions it could take if it wanted to appeal at a later date.  By requesting that the UN petition the court to hear the PA case, or by convincing state members of the court to agree to bring the case to the docket, Abbas could do an end-run around the jurisdiction issue.  If the PA’s attorneys have the brains that God gave a napkin, they are working on both of these issues now.

So the peril to Israel in Abbas’ first threat is that Israel may be pilloried in the ICC with a re-run of the Goldstone report, especially if Obama wins a second term.

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  • Schlomotion

    Mahmoud Abbas is not alone. Benjamin Netanyahu can poke his finger in the air menacingly too.

    Up in the air: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQJAwcT_O
    Poking in the chest: http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR-TFyQt1
    Doing the Danny Aiello: http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSMmWMAQE
    Testing the wind for his B.S.: http://www.imemc.org/attachments/jul2011/netanyah
    Smelling sulfur from his boss: http://lefuturistedailynews.files.wordpress.com/2

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Schlock,

      Say Hi to your osama bin lovin' for me. It's his anniversary.

      And Happy Eternal Nakba!

  • http://americankafir.wordpress.com/ waltjr

    The coming election will not only be the future of America but with Israel as well. If Obama is reelected nothing will stop him from finishing up tearing down America and Israel because of his hate for both nations..

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      And his LOVE for rev. wright and bill ayers.

  • Marty

    This is all the palestinian leadership knows how to do: threaten and pout. It's the victimization card all over again. Israelis should remember that this so-called moderate is a Holocaust denier whose pretence at scholarship includes a dissertation explaining how nazis and Zionists collaborated during World War II. abbas attempts to lie and blackmail and does badly at both. His word has been long demonstrated as worthless. abbas is only a terrorist in a suit who has indicated over and over again that he will not accept the existence of a Jewish democracy. Nothing he says is trustworthy.

  • Ghostwriter

    Here we go again. Schlockmotion bashing Jews,the very people he hate the most.

  • maria

    Israel Palestinians afraid more than their death that they will be loose Israel's citizenship. They enjoy freedom, welfare, great education, great medical aid, etc. What did "Palestinians" leaders having full scale of autonomy for their folk? All the Western world give them millions and millions non-earned money as financial aid and how they used it? They used it not to make better life for common "Palestinians", Arabs of Palestine but to enhance terror against those who built schools and universities for them, whose doctors still cure and survive their life. They don't know what gratitude means but know only hatred and barbarians instinct of murder. By the way Arabs countries not helping them (3% is all Arabs countries financial aid and 97% Westerns one). Arabs used them as hostages and never will accept them as citizens. Western Leftists who support them will have the same as those anti-Semites in many Europeans countries who enjoyed that Hitler killed Jews but than came their turn to be victims. It was and it will be so again with them. They should pray and support Israel as Israel destiny is Western civilization destiny.

    • spotter

      This is pure rubbish. I wonder why you don't know that.