Mahmoud Abbas: a Puppet on a String

For the first time in fifteen years, the people of Palestine seemed to be on the verge of having the opportunity to select new leaders. This was to be a significant breakthrough for the people, long brutally oppressed by Israel.

This opportunity has now been snatched from them by their president, the Palestinian traitor Mahmoud Abbas. His excuse is that Palestinians in East Jerusalem must be able to participate, and Israel has made no assurances that it will allow them to do so. While the need for Palestinians throughout Palestine to participate in the vote is legitimate, the number of voters in Jerusalem who would need Israeli permission is not significant.

So what is truly behind Abbas’s move? His party, Fatah, is extremely unpopular among Palestinians who see it, rightly, as simply a tool of Israel. Under Abbas and his party, ‘security cooperation’ between Israel and Palestine only means that Fatah helps Israel oppress Palestinians, with Palestinian ‘forces’ disappearing in advance when night raids by Israel are scheduled in a Palestinian neighborhood, and generally easing the way for the continued and ever-growing occupation. Resistance to an occupation is successful when the occupied people make it as difficult as possible for the oppressing nation to maintain the occupation; Abbas and Fatah make it easy for Israel.

If elections were to be held in May, it is likely that Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, would take control of the West Bank also. That is because Hamas is not controlled by Israel or the United States. Palestinians correctly see Fatah as working against their interests, and Hamas as working to assist them. One example is instructive. Electricity in the Gaza Strip is sporadically available, often for only six hours a day. The construction of a new facility to provide electricity was approved by Israel (the fact that such ‘approval’ should in no way be in Israel’s hands is a topic for another discussion), but then was prevented by Abbas, who didn’t want Hamas to have a victory. There was no consideration by their own president for the 2.5 million Palestinians suffering in Gaza. Additionally, in 2017, Fatah, under Abbas, stopped paying Israel for electricity it supplies to Gaza, thus cutting off that supply.

There is no wonder that Palestinians see Fatah as the enemy and Hamas, if not their savior, at least as an organization trying to assist them.

The U.S., too, is not anxious for this vote, which would bring Hamas to power. The United States, by any measure the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism, has designated Hamas a ‘terrorist’ organization. The U.S. which wants to appear neutral in the Palestine-Israel conflict, has trouble doing so since it sends Israel more than $4 billion dollars in U.S. aid annually, and United Nations organizations that assist Palestine receive next to nothing in U.S. funding; unlike Israel, Palestine receives nothing directly from the U.S. It would be even more difficult to pretend neutrality if one side was designated a ‘terrorist’ organization.

And who can forget what Hillary Clinton, then a U.S. senator, said after the Hamas victory in 2006. For those who may have forgotten, here is the quotation: “I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake. And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.”

If Hamas were to be victorious, ‘security cooperation’ would cease, and the U.S. would once again be exposed as blatantly favoring Israel. This, of course, is no secret. The U.S. for years pretended to be an honest broker of negotiations between Israel and Palestine (brokering negotiations that are not necessary; all that is necessary is for Israel to adhere to international law), during which time Israel took whatever it wanted from Palestine, and the Palestinians received nothing. The U.S. vetoes almost all Security Council resolutions critical of Israel, even those affirming the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination. And during the disastrous Trump administration, the proposal to hand over all of Palestine to Israeli control was presented.

So if Israel and the U.S. don’t want an election in Palestine, there won’t be one, because Abbas continues to dance to the tune of those racist, oppressive nations. There is so much Abbas could have done since the last election. Instead of expediting the night time house raids in the West Bank, Palestinian security forces could have resisted them. Instead of allowing more and more Palestinians homes to be demolished to make room for Israeli settlements, illegal under international law, he could have continually spoken out at the United Nations, contacted other governments for assistance, and ceaselessly condemned this action. Instead of allowing his people nothing more than the rocks they can collect on the ground to oppose the occupation, he could have provided weapons to them. International law recognizes the right of an occupied people to resist that occupation by any means available, including armed struggle. Abbas has had years to make this happen, and he has done nothing. Surely there are many nations that would have supplied weapons. If the Israelis were battling an armed opponent, they would need to make concession to Palestine.

Abbas’ decision to postpone the vote maintains the status quo: continued suffering and death of Palestinian men, women and children at the hands of Israel; more land theft; more home demolitions, and more of the same brutal oppression.

The human rights groups B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch have both, this year, declared that Israel is an apartheid regime. B’tselem is the largest and one of the most respected human rights organizations in Israel. The New York Times, a highly-respected (don’t ask this writer why; it’s a mystery to him) newspaper and website, completely ignored B’Tselem’s announcement in January, only mentioning it in April when Human Rights Watch reached the same conclusion about Israel.

The people of Palestine have suffered needlessly for decades. They must have the opportunity of choosing their own form of government, a right to which the U.S. proclaims everyone is entitled, but withholds at will (see Palestine, Kashmir, Iran, Venezuela; the list goes on). Abbas’s decision to ‘postpone’ Palestinian elections will please the masters pulling his strings, but will only make things worse for the people of Palestine.

It is long past time for the international community to act. Abbas must go and the occupation must end, and Palestine’s borders must be restored. People around the world must demand that their governments act, and if they don’t, they must replace those governments with people who care about international law and human rights. The suffering and oppression of the Palestinians must cease.


Robert Fantina’s latest book is Propaganda, Lies and False Flags: How the U.S. Justifies its Wars.