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What Did Abbas Just Say?

“ Yet straw upon straw was laid till the last straw broke the camel’s back.”

How many straws will it take to finally break the back of the Palestinian Authority (PA)? Well, here’s three that should be the last straws to dismantle the Abbas regime and trigger democratic elections.

(1) Ceasefire for Gaza: “Over my dead body will there be a ceasefire and calm between both sides,” Mahmoud Abbas

(2) Right of Return: “He [Abbas] said that he does not want to ‘drown’ Israel with refugees, but that we still need to find a solution to the issue of refugees,” Palestinian official.

(3) Demilitarisation: “I want a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, without an army.” Mahmoud Abbas

The above were uttered in the past week, without a murmur of outrage from PA/PLO members, and, strangely, without grassroots mass protests.

Abbas has wrapped himself in Arafat’s corrupt mantle of unlimited and self-interested personal power and he is sliding down the déjà vu slope like Arafat to impotent isolation indicated by his inability to control Hamas and Gaza, his soured negotiations with the USA and growing public dissent.

The PA insists that “there is only one government in Palestine responsible for the West Bank and Gaza, which is the national consensus government….The government is doing its duties  towards our people in the sectors of electricity, water, education and health.”

Rubbish! In fact, the PA is absolutely purposefully negligent in its responsibility for the impoverished and traumatised Palestinians in Gaza.  Since February 2017, in his bid to  break Hamas and control Gaza, Abbas has imposed shocking sanctions on Gaza aping Israel’s collective punishment;

+ in April 2017 it stopped payments for Israeli supplied electricity which exacerbated the hitherto outages since Israel’s devastating 2014 war on Gaza that were “affecting vital services such as hospitals, clinics, water supplies, and household’s daily lives.”( World Bank);

+ PA slashing of education funding and fuel have further debilitated Gaza’s under-resourced learning environment with power cuts, staff shortages, inordinately overcrowded classrooms, and despite heroic efforts of underpaid/ volunteer teachers, the system is failing its children who are chronically traumatised by war and poverty. (OCHA)

+ to top it all, the PA Health Ministry stopped sending medicines and medical equipment as well as purposely delaying or refusing permits and payment vouchers for medical treatment outside

On 28 August 2018, baby Hamza Tuman, suffering from a rare genetic disease, died because the PA Minister for Health ignored the request to cover medical expenses for baby Hamza to have treatment in Israel.

Conversely, Abbas had medical tests in the USA in February, was immediately hospitalised (not in Gaza) in May for 10 days and is reported to have “doctor on handat his Ramallah headquarters, and the doctor checks him at least once a day.”

Palestinian families in Gaza are being viciously throttled by a double siege.

It may appear that the Hamas-Egypt-Israel negotiations for a ceasefire are for the benefit of  Palestinian families incarcerated in the largest prison the world. However, there are cracks in this facade: Egypt is no more an honest broker as is the USA. Egypt is a satrap of the USA. Significantly, the sidelining of Abbas and cutting US funding to the PA, is a strategy by Israel and the USA that is messing with Abbas’ head in order to bring him into line, to further divide and rule, to punish him for refusing to meet with Pence and Trump envoys, for rejecting the Kushner meeting, for disobeying the US order to cease the martyr payments and  to get the frigid PA to warm to Trump’s Deal of the Century.

Abbas is a willing guard/lapdog and reads his masters well. He has had 25 years of training in lucrative betrayal and obedience since his signing the Oslo Accords – a farce that went as far as a Nobel peace award which is relegated to LOL category along with the US presidency, John Cain’s sainthood, UN relevancy, Israel’s right to defend itself and Palestinian democracy.

Well, Abbas has not only warmed to the deal of the century, but in his manic desperation to retain his fake power, he is hot for it. Hence the reiteration of his noble gesture of sacrificing the right of return to spare Israel from drowning in Palestinian refugees and his holier-than-thou agreement to a demilitarised fantasy state packed with well funded fantasy schools and hospitals: demilitarisation and the abrogation of the right of return are the  longstanding key demands set by Israel in negotiations for a fantasy two state solution. No sane leader would waive the security of his/her people by opting for demilitarisation alongside a rabid neighbour. However, years of privilege and collusion with the zionist enemy have propelled Abbas and his cohorts way beyond crazy to treason. They are no longer Palestinians for they have transmogrified into the enemy of Palestine. Pigs on hind legs.

The Jewish ‘state’ recognises that Palestinian unity is the nemesis of its downfall and it must keep Fatah and Hamas pressed up against the wall of division. The foundation of BDS is unity and is relentlessly attacked as criminal and antisemitic. Ultimately, the greatest threat is the unity of the Palestinian people that dissolves party lines and borders.

Regarding the ceasefire negotiations, Hamas should be very very wary of zionists bearing gifts. The grave threat from the independent cohesiveness of the First Intifada brought on the gift of the Oslo Trojan horse that almost destroyed Palestinian resistance with the PA’s collaboration.

Today the phenomenal unity, grit and courage of Gaza’s Great March of Return has the Israelis scrambling. But it’s hard to see how Israel can destroy a people who steadfastly – despite the 11-year siege, despite 171 martyrs, despite tens of thousands horrifically injured – after 149 days persist in protesting non-violently for their hallowed and legal right of return.

How can Israel break a people who, after the bombing of their cultural centre hold a concert on its ruins?

 

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Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.

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