So long, Mahmoud.
PA President Abbas — still smarting from the humiliation of al-Jazeera’s Palestine Papers — has thrown in his lot with Hamas, agreeing to participate in “unity talks” with the thugs of Gaza to take place in Cairo in April. He has also instructed PA legislators to draft a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood, to be submitted to the UN in September. This all amounts, in short, to telling the Israelis to go to hell. He’s not going to be caught red-handed making concessions for peace again — no way, no how. That’s not how this leader of men rolls.
Most strikingly of all, Abbas has said he will sacrifice the aid money the PA receives from the United States if they quibble about his rapprochement with Hamas. This is more than mere chutzpa: it is full-on, bull-by-the-horns, future-destroying recklessness. A whopping sixty percent of the Palestinian Authority’s GDP comes from foreign aid. Take away a significant chunk of it and the PA’s economy becomes unsustainable.
So what’s he thinking? Maybe he can’t do math. Maybe he’s as unconcerned about the consequences for the Palestinian citizens of the West Bank as his Hamas partners-for-peace are about the consequences for the Palestinian citizens of Gaza. Maybe he’s decided there’s honor in honesty, and he may as well acknowledge that Oslo-Shmoslo, he is as much devoted to the total conquest of Israel as was his Fatah predecessor, Arafat. Or maybe he’s just convinced that the Americans will shovel money at him no matter what he does, and Hamas is a safe short-term bet right now.
How the machers of Hamas must be loving this. They just finished warning Abbas that they couldn’t (read: wouldn’t) guarantee his safety if he traveled to Gaza, and he responds by throwing American aid money back where it came from and begging to be let onto the Good Ship Jihad. It’s baklawas all around at HQ in Damascus.