Mahmoud Abbas’ new initiative

“I have had it up to here,” said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the emir of Qatar and the head of Hamas

Daoud Kuttab
Daoud Kuttab
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“I have had it up to here,” said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the emir of Qatar and the head of Hamas.

He then indicated that he had had enough of Hamas, of Arabs, of Israel and even of Fatah.

Abbas’ words and the minutes of the meetings of the three on the eve of the ceasefire agreement were made public by the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar recently.

With angry words, Abbas accused Hamas of lying. He said Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal’s commitment to limit the resistance in the West Bank to non-violent action has proved to be wrong. Proof of that is the capture by Israel of 93 Hamas supporters allegedly plotting to start a violent Intifada and try to overthrow Abbas.

While Meshaal vehemently denied and belittled the Israeli allegation, Abbas said he had evidence that Hamas had arms in the West Bank from an intelligence officer.

With angry words, Abbas accused Hamas of lying

Daoud Kuttab

“You smuggle weapons, explosives, and cash to the West Bank,” he told Meshaal.

Abbas also accused Hamas of creating a shadow government in Gaza, despite the agreement on the unity government, and of irresponsibly prolonging the war by refusing the initial Egyptian offer, which was later accepted.

Abbas did not give details about his dissatisfaction with Fatah, but one can easily assume that he is referring to the constant bickering and internal fighting among the Fatah leadership over petty issues and personal interests.

The most important part of the Palestinian leader’s efforts appears to focus on obtaining the support of the Islamic Hamas movement and fellow Arabs for his new strategy aimed at ending the Israeli occupation.

After obtaining a written approval from Hamas to join the Rome Statutes that regulate joining the International Criminal Court, the Palestinian leader wanted Meshaal’s approval for his peace plan.

Meshaal hesitated, according to the transcripts, and promised an answer within 24 hours. When no answer came, Abbas turned much of his private criticism to Hamas, publicly using Egyptian and Palestinian media outlets to vent.

But with or without Hamas, the Abbas initiative was launched.

Committed to a plan

For the first time in recent memory, Palestinians appear to be committed to a plan of their own that will not be detailed if others reject it.

According to several Palestinian sources, the plan, which was presented to the U.S. and to the Arab League, focuses on drawing the borders between Israel and the state of Palestine first.

The three-year plan thus calls on Israel to begin serious negotiations about the borders for three months.

If the Israelis refuse to accept this offer, the Palestinians, with help from the international community, will seek approval for the offer at the U.N. Security Council — possibly under Chapter 7.

If the U.S. vetoes the UNSC resolution, Palestinians will join the International Criminal Court and other U.N. agencies.

Meanwhile, if Palestinians see no effort to draw the borders and end the constant encroachment on Palestinian land, Abbas threatened to stop his security forces’ coordination with the Israeli army.

A final step by the Palestinians, according to the plan, would be simply to throw away the administrative keys of running the lives of Palestinians as subcontractors to Israel and let Israel run its own occupation with all that it entails.

Many are wondering and questioning whether Abbas will carry out this threats and where he found the courage to stand up to Israel, Hamas and his own Fatah movement.

Those who know the 79-year-old Palestinian leader insist that he is truly a man of peace, but also a man of his word.

When he promised the Israelis that there would not be a third Intifada, he delivered what he promised. Now, as he approaches 80 and with no ambition to run again for any political office, many are saying that Abbas wants to leave the political scene with a legacy of having done everything he could using non-violent means that he and all peace-loving Palestinians can be proud of.

If he fails, it will be for the next generation of Palestinian leaders to decide whether to continue with his strategy, to adopt the Hamas military approach or return to Arafat’s strategy of trying to combine politics with military action.

This article was first published in The Jordan Times on September 11, 2014.


Daoud Kuttab, an award winning Palestinian journalist who resides in Jerusalem and Amman. Mr. Kuttab is the director general of Community Media Network a media NGO that runs a radio station in Amman (al balad radio 92.4fm) a newsweb site and a TV production operation in Palestine Penmedia ( which is producing the Palestinian version of Sesame street. You can read his blogs on and find him on Twitter @DaoudKuttab.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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