Is Mahmoud Abbas silent out of frustration?
Abbas must be despondent about successive international failures to revive the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been noticeably silent for quite some time. His last appearance on the international political scene was in April for meetings with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, and with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
Abbas must be despondent about successive international failures to revive the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. At 81, age may also be a factor. With US President Barack Obama’s failure to achieve a breakthrough in two consecutive terms, Palestinians and Arabs in general pinned their hopes on the recent French peace initiative. However, it was scuppered by Israeli rejection and settlement activity.
US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Paris this week for talks with Abbas. However, due to Israeli intransigence Kerry was unable to achieve tangible progress in peace talks when he came into office, so he is even less likely to succeed now that he is leaving in a few months. In any case, the international war on terror is expected to be Kerry’s priority in Paris, rather than the peace process.
Domestically, Abbas’s disappointment stems from his inability to reconcile with HamasRaed Omari
Domestically, Abbas’s disappointment stems from his inability to reconcile with Hamas, especially since the conflict between it and his Fatah party has greatly damaged the Palestinian cause and its image.
Israeli-Turkish rapprochement means Abbas is even less likely now to secure a foothold in Hamas-run Gaza, and the party is less likely to compromise with him because it is supported by a regional power that is back on good terms with Israel.
Abbas is also frustrated that the Syrian conflict, the global war on terror, the US elections, Britain’s vote to leave the EU, and tensions between Russia and NATO have all eclipsed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In addition, there is talk of a struggle within Fatah between Abbas supporters and those demanding younger leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Raed Omari is a Jordanian journalist, political analyst, parliamentary affairs expert, and commentator on local and regional political affairs. His writing focuses on the Arab Spring, press freedoms, Islamist groups, emerging economies, climate change, natural disasters, agriculture, the environment and social media. He is a writer for The Jordan Times, and contributes to Al Arabiya English. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @RaedAlOmari2