Friday, January 27th | 6 Shevat 5783

May 2, 2019 8:49 am

Abbas Admits He Can’t and Won’t Make Peace — Again

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avatar by Edward Manor


Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Feb. 6, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.

If a report in the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar is true, we once again learned this week what we’ve known for years — that Mahmoud Abbas can’t and won’t make peace with Israel.

The Lebanese newspaper summarized a report by a Jordanian envoy to Ramallah regarding an alleged recent meeting between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Abbas, where the former may have offered the latter $10 billion to accept President Trump’s “deal of the century.” Abbas was quoted as saying that accepting the offer would “mean the end of my political life.”

None of this is surprising, and reaffirms what we’ve known for a while. First, when it comes to Abbas, financial incentives certainly do not work, because as Abbas wisely pointed out, they can carry grave political implications. The minute Abbas makes peace, he has to build a nation, and one rooted in a positive ethos that precludes the glorification of terrorism, demonization of Jews, and the desire to build one’s state on the ashes of another. Additionally, according to his former security minister, Abbas is already a billionaire after years of shameless corruption and embezzlement of aid money intended for his constituency.

Second, and not as readily apparent as Abbas’ ongoing refusal to make peace, is the poorly kept secret that Saudi Arabia’s young Crown Prince absolutely detests Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian baggage that comes with him. Reports of past enmity between the Saudis and the Palestinians are manifold, and it isn’t surprising that the Crown Prince would approach Abbas like the thieving thug he is and try to buy him off. It is entirely clear that the Palestinian cause has run its course for the Saudis and much of the Arab world.

This curious state of affairs only demonstrates how eager the Saudis and larger Sunni world are for peace, or at least normalization of relations with Israel.

In conclusion, no one should expect Mahmoud Abbas to accept the terms of any peace deal with Israel. At the same time, no one should be too disappointed — because this is simply par for the course. What this does do is show the world that the two-state solution isn’t currently viable, because the Palestinian leadership will not allow it and does not really want peace. The Sunni world and Israel should make peace, and wait for the Palestinians to join it.

Edward Manor is an Israeli born American lawyer and political commentator (Twitter: SHomer_Israel).

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