Khaled Abut Toameh
To quote some excerpts:
Over the past three years, the international community invested billions of dollars in boosting the standing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction among Palestinians.Does anyone not see the incredible irony?
In the eyes of most Palestinian political analysts, even a miracle would not be able to repair the collateral damage to Abbas's status following his decision last Thursday to withdraw a motion demanding that the UN Human Rights Council endorse the findings of the commission of inquiry headed by Justice Richard Goldstone.
The "scandal" is the best thing that could have happened to Hamas.
... especially not when the Palestinian public is so furious with Abbas "for helping Israel bury its war crimes in the Gaza Strip." Whoever put pressure on Abbas to withdraw the motion from the UN not only foiled Egypt's efforts to end the Hamas-Fatah crisis, but also played into the hands of the Islamic movement. Hamas's chances of winning another election are now higher than they were before the fiasco over the PA's handling of the Goldstone Report.
Hamas's message to the Palestinian public these days is: You see, we told you that Abbas and Fatah were puppets of America and Israel, and both act against the interests of our people.
Hamas and many disenchanted Palestinians have dubbed Abbas's decision a great sin and historic crime against the Palestinians. Others have gone as far as demanding that he and his advisers be put on trial for high treason - a charge punishable by death in the PA territories.
It's not that the popularity of Abbas and Fatah was high in the first place. Despite the improved economy and sharp decline in violence in the West Bank, many Palestinians continued to relate to Abbas and Fatah as "traitors," largely because of their close ties with the US and Israel.
If there's truth to the PA claim that its decision to ditch the Goldstone Report was taken as a result of American pressure and threats, then the Obama administration has effectively undermined and discredited Abbas and Fatah.
Forcing Abbas to return to the negotiating table at this stage will further undermine what's left of his credibility, especially now that many Palestinians are calling for his resignation and questioning his right to represent them in any negotiations with Israel.
Thanks to the recent mistakes made by the Obama administration, not only has Hamas's power grown, but it would be difficult to find a Palestinian who would agree to purchase a second-hand car from Abbas, let alone accept a peace agreement he brokered with Israel.
Abbas's credibility has been undermined because he did what is just and would bring peace (closer) between Israel and the Arabs. Just like with Anwar Sadat, anyone amongst the Arabs who tries to have peace with Israel has his credibility undermined, if not his life ended.
What on earth then is Israel trying to do? Why on earth should Israel keep selling the ground beneath its feet to a people who so despises peace with Israel that the only way to strengthen their leaders is to undermine the peace process, and the only way to strengthen the peace process is to undermine their leaders?
Actually, I do not really believe that Abbas wanted peace with Israel at all; he himself promised to soon rekindle the terrorism of the Intifada. But if there was any semblance of a possibility of peace, it was with Abbas, and look where it has gotten him. His very relationship with the US and Israel made the Arabs distrust him, and his just and proper rejection of Goldstone - regardless of whether it required Obama's pressure - only further hurt his reputation. If having a relationship with Israel and the US, and if rejecting Goldstone - a farcical miscarriage of justice if there ever was one - lead to the Arabs' rejecting Abbas, then I believe we could not ask for a better litmus test of where the Arabs stand vis a vis Israel.