By Hussein Aboubakr Mansour, Israel Hayom—
In a recently leaked recording, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was heard hurling a slew of insults at the world: “ China, Russia, America and all the Arabs.” Surprisingly, Israel was absent from the inclusive lineup. Abbas was also reported in early April to have refused a call from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, asking for it to come instead from the Oval Office. Such incidences, coupled with the rising tension in Jerusalem and the indefinite delay of the Palestinian elections, expose a simmering frustration among the Palestinians and are alarming signs for a brewing storm.
Throughout the last year, a series of regional developments, coupled with a lack of realistic expectations and traditional Palestinian intransigence, caused deep frustration among Palestinian politicians and the general population. The “Peace to Prosperity” Middle East plan, the Abraham Accords and a deep financial crisis have all created further embitterment and resentment. The ill-conceived announcement of the Palestinian elections last January was largely an attempt to bypass what seemed to be a domestic, regional and international Palestinian stalemate.
Yet since the very beginning, heavy shadows of doubt already haunted the promise of Palestinian elections. Rightfully cynical Palestinians and external observers doubted that the Palestinian elections would actually take place due to the unresolved conflict between Fatah and Hamas. Moreover, with the aggressive regional effort aiming for the complete political immobilization of the Muslim Brotherhood headed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, it was clear that major regional backers did not look favorably at elections that had a high likelihood of giving Hamas more power. This serious consideration was even voiced by the White House, which also expressed its understanding in advance if the P.A. decided not to hold elections. In other words, soon after Abbas announced the elections and his aim at uniting Palestinian ranks, many agreed that he was setting himself a trap.
Abbas’s decision to effectively cancel elections while saving himself from a risky gamble only aggravates the situation, as once again the PA sets expectations it has no way of meeting. Hamas already condemned the decision and declared it a “coup.” The only way that the PA can avoid popular discontent and lack of support is, yet again, through channeling the built-up anger against Israel and claiming that Israel’s refusal to allow Arab residents in eastern Jerusalem to vote is the reason for the cancellation. “No elections without Jerusalem!” cried Abbas. The fact that this entire episode is taking place during the holy month of Ramadan, and its amplifying effect of religious and national sentiments, has only made the situation worse, resulting in Palestinian anger and violence in Jerusalem. Continue Reading….