Palestinians Must Ditch Old Leaders, Chart New Course

(Cipher Brief) Amb. Gary Grappo - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent visit to India is symbolic of Israel's growing ties with more countries, further integration into the global political and economic communities, and emergent economic clout and prosperity. Meanwhile, in Ramallah, PA President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, rejected the reported proposal for the Jerusalem Arab suburb of Abu Dis as the capital of a Palestinian state, threatened to withdraw Palestinian recognition of Israel and to charge Israel for war crimes at the International Criminal Court, and revived efforts to push for international recognition of a Palestinian state. His remarks sounded like a desperate and pathetic attempt to breathe new life into tired, shopworn words of a bygone period when the world actually listened. It's questionable whether even Palestinians bothered to listen. His cause and that of the Palestinian people is slowly slipping away. One need only look at the apathetic response in the Arab world to the U.S. action. They are losing interest in a Palestinian leadership that seems stuck in a time warp and has failed to construct sustainable institutions for a state. The Palestinians need a major overhaul in their leadership, and then a new approach to negotiations. In elections for a new PA leadership, all candidates should be required to subscribe to the Quartet's principles: recognition of the State of Israel, acceptance of all previous agreements, and renunciation of violence. Hamas would not be eligible to participate unless it formally accepted the same principles. A new Palestinian leadership should commit itself to building genuine institutions of democracy and to raising the economic well-being of the Palestinian people, regardless of the progress of negotiations with Israel. The writer served as U.S. Ambassador to Oman and Deputy Chief of Mission in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

2018-01-22 00:00:00

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