BLOG 380 January 29, 2018
In a continuing analysis of the current situation in Israel and the West Bank since President Trump announced the USA would move their embassy to Jerusalem, a number of re-positioning’s have occurred. As expected, most of the Arab world grumbled, but did nothing because it was in their best interest to stay on solid footing with Washington. They remain far more concerned with Iran. However, the Palestinians went ballistic.
Because they are now losing “big time,” Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the US in every possible way and declared America was no longer a fair negotiator in the peace process, characterized Trump’s move as criminal, and a gift to the Zionist Movement. For two hours, Abbas talked endlessly of Trump abandoning the peace process. Vice-President Pence was snubbed when he came through. Washington responded that Abbas’ accusations were far from the truth. Another “he said,” “she said,” exchange.
Taking the problem one step further, Trump was irate at the rejection of Pence and made the bold statement, “Money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace.” Previous US presidents have been irritated with the Palestinian opposition and obstinacy, but none threatened to cut off assistance if the Palestinians didn’t negotiate.
The issue now before the world is would the PA collapse if the USA cut off all funding? A major problem indeed!
An issue that has long wrangled American politicians is that the PA uses American assistance to fund terrorists and their families. American taxpayers find rewarding terrorists to be particularly abhorrent. Responding to this issue, The House Representatives and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have approved th Taylor Force legislation which would force the PA to choose between US assistance and their morally reprehensible policy of funding terrorist. If approved, the legislation could bring the house down on the PA.
What next? The frightening possibly would be Abbas being replace by a more radical group like Hama. No negotiations would follow this entity and American security interest would be hurt.
However, what is ahead is fundamentally in the hands of the Palestinians. Trump has emboldened the Israelites and pushed the Palestinians further back in the corner. They know it and can only scream.
But before we draw any conclusions, it is well to remember that the sun always rises on the unexpected in the Middle East. Let’s hope this does not mean more killing.