Comment By Khalid Amayreh
Shortly before he was elected as successor to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in January 2005, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, aka known as Abu Mazen, pledged to preserve the human and national rights of the Palestinian people. However, nearly three years later, it is manifestly clear that Abbas has utterly failed to honor his pledges.
At the national level, Abbas has committed a series of unforgivable blunders which provide a sufficient legal ground for his dismissal.
Abbas flew in the face of the Palestinian constitutional law when he created an unconstitutional government in Ramallah outside the circle of Palestinian legislative and judicial legitimacy. That government, as every Palestinian knows deep in his heart, remains answerable to Israel and the American administration which is, too, very much at Israel’s beck and call.
The problem didn’t stop there. That government has committed every conceivable violation of our people’s human, civil and national rights, including murder, protracted arrest and detention without charge or trial, physical and psychological torture, dismissal from job for political and ideological reasons, promulgation of laws and bylaws in violation of the Basic Law and closure of charities and non-governmental organizations based on concocted justifications. In short, the status of human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law in the West Bank is now worse than ever since 1967, thanks to this artificial government.
In some instances, totally innocent people were shot and killed in broad daylight and the murder was normally met with total apathy by Abbas and his Prime Minister Salam Fayyadh. Eventually, the irresponsible government reaction to blatant assaults on citizens rights, dignity and property, helped foster lawlessness and chaos whereby people had to resort to clan power to protect themselves against arbitrary arrest, mistreatment and torture.
The abuse of governance throughout the West Bank reached unprecedented levels when recruited thousands of Fatah supporters, including college students, to work as informers, secret policemen and street thugs to harass, inform on, arrest, beat and torture other Palestinians, e.g. pro-Hamas activists or sympathizers.
Indeed, what kind of government would act like this, creating divisiveness and mistrust within our society? Aren’t Israel’s collaborators and informers enough?
Abbas would probably justify all these violations and blunders by citing the mantra of the “bloody coup” by Hamas in Gaza .
Well, I don’t know of many Palestinians, including members of Hamas, who are infatuated with what happened in Gaza .
But Abbas himself should remember that he bears a huge responsibility for what happened. Under his nose, or probably under his supervision, America’s man Muhammed Dahlan, who had received wholesome praise from George Bush, sought to turn the Gaza Strip into a CIA mini-republic, by way of fostering terror and lawlessness and murder in every street, every neighborhood and every home throughout the Gaza Strip.
Abbas knew very well what was going on, but kept silent and never bothered to tell the Palestinian masses why the Gaza Strip was being flooded with one shipment after the other of American-supplied weapons?
Indeed, what would he himself have done, and how would he have acted, seeing local quislings of a hostile foreign power sharpen their knives, awaiting the right moment to leap on Hamas and decapitate its head once and for all?
But Abbas’s sins go beyond the showdown with Hamas. Upon his election as President of the Palestinian Authority, and in numerous other occasions, Abbas undertook to stick to Palestinian national constants, including such nationally-accepted redlines as total Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967 and a just settlement of the Palestinian refugee plight pursuant UN resolution 194.
Now, the PA Chairman seems to have reneged on both. With regard to the demanded Israeli withdrawal, Abbas is now showing a certain willingness to barter the illegal Jewish colonies within East Jerusalem, such as Maali Adomim, for some lifeless sandy swaths in the Negev desert. Yes, golden Jerusalem for sand.!!
And on the refugee plight, the most paramount and sensitive aspect of the Palestinian problem, Abu Mazen has effectively entrusted Yaser Abed Rabbo to deal with the issue.
This is the same Abed Rabbo who a few years ago reached an “understanding” with Meretz leader Yossi Belen whereby five million Palestinian refugees uprooted from their homes and villages in 1948 would simply kiss their “right of return” good-by, in return for a deformed, truncated and disconnected “state” in the West Bank.
As if this treachery was not enough, Abbas and cohorts, people like Sa’eb Ureikat, Nabil Amr, et al, are now harrowing toward the big sale.
According to the latest reports from Abbas’s court in Ramallah, the PA Chairman has agreed that the implementation of the Israeli-conceived and American-adopted “roadmap” would constitute an implementation of UN resolution 242 and 338.
This is the same Abbas that only a few weeks ago vowed that he wouldn’t attend the upcoming conference in Annapolis, Maryland, unless Israel agreed to a timetable for the final-status solution of the conflict with Israel.
There is no doubt that Abbas is humiliating and insulting millions of Palestinians by succumbing to Israeli diktats.
The Palestinian people, after all, never authorized Abbas to behave and act the way he is behaving and acting.
And he should realize that a leader is only worth as much as he is supported by his own people, no matter how much he is popular among his people’s enemies.
In any case, Abbas and the Americans and the Israelis should be clear about one thing: Any deal reached between Abbas and Israel would be worthless if it didn’t enjoy the backing of the vast bulk of Palestinians.