Archive for the ‘Mahmoud Abbas’ Category


There is a word in Hebrew that marvelously describes what Benjamin Netanyahu has turned both the Palestinian Authority and the

John Kerry meets US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro in Tel Aviv, March 31, 2014.

John Kerry meets US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro in Tel Aviv, March 31, 2014.

Obama Administration into. That word is “frier.” Not as in a vat of oil to make chips, but as in what would be most closely translated as “sucker,” a person who is easily scammed, who buys the Brooklyn Bridge with their life savings.

The deal which, according to the New York Times, US Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to sell today to the Palestinians exemplifies everything that is wrong with the American-brokered Oslo process. The deal itself was hammered out only between Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It reflects the absence of the Palestinians in the discussions, because it offers them nothing but the opportunity to capitulate again to American and Israeli power.

Under the terms of the deal, the United States would release Jonathan Pollard, the Jewish American who was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for spying for Israel. Pollard has been a cause celebre for the right wings of both the American-Jewish and Israeli communities for years, but no president has ever seriously considered releasing him before. Israel would, essentially, concede nothing in exchange.

The Israelis would agree to “show restraint” in expanding settlements in the West Bank. That is a vague and meaningless wording which, given the amount of construction Israel has undertaken when they’ve actually agreed to what they call a “freeze” cannot possibly have any real impact. (more…)

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An edited version of this article first appeared in LobeLog

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with U.S. President Barack Obama this week, following in the footsteps of

Abbas and Obama confer at the White House

Abbas and Obama confer at the White House

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier in the month. But unlike Netanyahu, Abbas is a much less heralded, or even well-known figure in Washington. And, above all, he is a man with far fewer options.

With a deadline looming at the end of April by which U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had promised first to broker a permanent Israel-Palestine agreement and, later, a more modest goal of a framework for continuing talks, Abbas arrived in Washington with little to offer and less room to make further concessions. It’s a familiar position for the Palestinian leader, one he has been in since 2004, when he assumed the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) upon the death of Yasir Arafat.

Arafat was a universally respected leader to the Palestinian people, even, grudgingly, among his rivals; a fighter who had proven his worth in conflict. Abbas, by contrast, had long been Arafat’s number two, but he was more intellectual, having been an advocate, a resistance politician and a fundraiser for most of his time in exile and then after his return to the Palestinian Territories in 1994. (more…)

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Barack Obama to jump-start the “peace process.” At LobeLog, I examine whether Obama is likely to heed that call and the grim position Abbas is in that prompted him to make it.

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For my International Law class (for those who don’t know, I’m working on my Master’s Degree at University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy), I was asked to write a UN resolution and a strategy for getting it adopted. I thought folks here might be interested in seeing what i came up with, as sort of a thought experiment.

The UN General Assembly Hall

Keep in mind, the idea here was to be realistic and come up with a resolution that made sense to present. I am in the role of an adviser to Mahmoud Abbas, and the time was supposed to be mid-2011, so I could focus on the real possibility, at the time, of going to the UN that coming September. The scope is narrow, so I’m not trying to get him to rethink his entire approach to the occupation.

So, of course, I’m recommending a General Assembly, rather than a Security Council approach.

Comments are welcome. The resolution I wrote is pasted below. The longer strategy paper (in an MS Word document)  is at this link(more…)

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My latest piece at Souciant examines the complete disconnect of Mahmoud Abbas from the reality of the situation the Palestinians are in. I ask why Israel should even be expected, by purely self-interest standards, to end its control over millions of Palestinians and examine how that calculus might be changed.

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