Can Palestinian Politics Replace Violence and Terror?

(The Hill) Elliott Abrams - Mahmoud Abbas' claim to be the real leader of the Palestinian people has never been weaker. Otherwise, he would not have vetoed the parliamentary elections scheduled for May 22. Mahmoud Abbas cannot lead Palestinians anywhere and cannot defeat Hamas. Israel and Americans who search for peace and stability face the problem of a profound breakdown of Palestinian politics. No peace negotiations can possibly succeed until Israel has a partner who can sign a peace agreement and enforce it. There can be no "peace negotiations" with Hamas, which is dedicated to eliminating the State of Israel through violence. But the alternative to Hamas is the discredited and increasingly unpopular Fatah. The coming outpouring of funds to rebuild damaged sites in Gaza presents an important opportunity. Donors should support projects that directly help the populace, without the political elites in the West Bank or Gaza skimming the cream or Hamas diverting supplies. Donors must use their funds to support people and NGOs that show some independence from Hamas. Otherwise, they will be helping rebuild Hamas rather than Gaza. It should be clear that empowering political elites who damaged the chances for peace has not worked and will not work. The two-state solution is further away than ever today. The recent days of war make the idea of removing the IDF from the West Bank look like madness to most Israelis. If Israel leaves, who exactly will prevent Hamas from taking over, seizing control of the West Bank as it did in Gaza in 2006, and as Hizbullah did in south Lebanon? Until that question can be answered, the two-state solution is a slogan rather than a serious destination. The writer is Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

2021-05-27 00:00:00

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