BLOG 381 February 5, 2018
THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY DISINTEGRATING? During the many years I spent in Jerusalem, I’ve seen the constant tension that exists everywhere. One can feel the unrest in the scowling faces of shop owners in the Old City and see hatred in the eyes of Muslim women shopping in the markets. Something is always wrong – but never explained..
Local newspapers claim the problem is with the Prime Minister because Netanyahu is under investigation for corruption. His response is to build more apartments in occupied land. Who knows where that will go? On the other hand, Palestinians charge that Israel is a “colonial apartheid state” built on violence and dehumanization. Their response has been suicide bombs and knife attacks.
In the midst of the screaming and shouting, one thing is clear. The 82-year-old PA President Mahmoud Abbas has consistently failed the Palestinian people. While the United Nations has often been anti-Semitic, they never seem to take note of the following issues evolving in the West Bank.
The old adage that power corrupts is clearly true in Ramallah. Abbas has destroyed the judiciary and continues to undermine all peace efforts from his side of the table. Abbas undermined an independent judiciary by appointing a system of judges subservient to his wishes. While the goal of destroying Israel faded decades ago, Abbas keeps functioning with the mentality of a Saddam Hussein. Completely ignoring the time period for elections, Mahmoud Abbas has stayed in office acting as if constitutional mandates are meaningless as long as he is in office. The Parliament has not convened in over a decade. Palestinian Basic Law of 2003 guaranteed the right speech in speech or print. In contrast, Abbas issued a decree that any internet expression that he considers an endangerment to the Palestinian state would result in a year of imprisonment. Such an edict will silence any opposition.
The Abbas government blocked funding to the respected Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, attempting to force the think tank out of business. As a result of these and other actions, belief in a two-state peace is dwindling. Where 80 percent of the Palestinians once supported the idea, now only 46 percent believe it is a possibility.
Of course there is another side to this story. The Israelis treat the Palestinians harshly and arbitrarily. Abbas uses the excesses of the Netanyahu government as an excuse for their situation. However, his actions have done nothing to change anything about their status. The point is that the time is way overdue for a change in the Palestinian leadership if there is any positive future for their people.
Is there any genuine hope for the future? Not as long as Abbas stays!