Pity the poor Palestinians. Their flagging national movement is mired in a bitter internecine battle between Hamas terrorists in Gaza and the corrupt Palestine Liberation Organization.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders continue to tilt at windmills in the mistaken belief that the world is paying attention.
Two weeks ago, the PLO declared that all prior agreements with Israel are null and void, and that the PLO would withdraw its recognition of Israel’s right to exist. The PLO’s renunciation of all agreements with Israel means that the governing P.A.—an Oslo-born creation under full PLO control—is renouncing its own legitimacy and the very reason for its existence.
The seemingly major PLO announcement from Ramallah was greeted by a huge collective yawn worldwide.
Even as their “eternal” enemy, Israel, has blossomed over the last 74 years into a global technological, economic and military miracle, the Palestinians remain dependent on diminishing welfare handouts from international donors, and now even their once-vibrant political cachet seems to have evaporated.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine didn’t help. It’s turned the attention of the world’s nations towards a new—and real—villain in Russian President Vladimir Putin and away from knee-jerk condemnations of Israel and support for the Palestinians.
Hearts have turned toward the brave Ukrainians and away from the hapless, aimless Palestinians with their ever-feuding, blood-soaked dictatorships in Ramallah and Gaza City.
Even their Arab brethren have forgotten or grown tired of the Palestinians … and many (horror of horrors) have taken Israelis into their warm embrace.
The Abraham Accords have been a game-changer, creating close ties between Israel and numerous Arab states—alliances that were unimaginable just a few years ago. The growing relationships have siphoned off Arab funding and turned Arab sympathies away from nihilistic “Palestine.”
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and Jordan’s King Abdullah have warmed to Israeli engagement well beyond the cold peace that has existed since Israel signed peace treaties with the two Arab nations decades ago. Egypt continues to keep its border with Gaza more locked down than Israel does its own.
Even Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, recently expressed optimism about the future of Saudi-Israel relations.
With vanishing support for the PLO leadership among Palestinians, P.A. leader Abbas has little legitimacy at home. The PLO/P.A. have lost all validity as leaders of the Palestinian people, having proven themselves utterly inept at anything except terror and corruption.
Palestinian polls repeatedly show that the Palestinian people in Judea and Samaria would kick Abbas and his PLO cronies into oblivion if elections were held today. While all of these polls favor Hamas, this is probably less a hearty endorsement of Hamas’s explicitly genocidal policy toward Israel than reflective of a hope that Hamas would institute a “cleaner” government in Judea and Samaria.
No wonder “president” Abbas won’t allow elections in the territories—even as he enters the eighteenth dictatorial year of his four-year presidential term, to which he was last elected in 2005.
Informed observers also know that, if the PLO really canceled all security and economic ties with Israel, as its announcement proudly claimed, the PLO/PA’s domain would explode in a blaze of street crime, anarchy and catastrophic economic collapse.
The world seems to have become aware that, since the Oslo Accords of 1993, the PLO and P.A. have made progress nowhere but in United Nations agencies, mastery of terrorism and graft and in narrow segments of public opinion.
The Palestinians have moved not an inch closer to achieving a resolution of the “final status issues” regarding the disputed territories over the 30-year Oslo period—despite several generous Israeli peace offers, billions in foreign aid, and dogged American mediation and pressure.
Actually, remarkably little attention has been directed at the Palestinian cause for years. The world press is pretty silent on the situation—except when Hamas or Hezbullah launch massive volleys of missiles at Israeli population centers, sparking defensive Israeli military operations, or when PLO-inspired terrorists knife innocent civilians on the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
All indications are that the world’s attention has moved on, particularly in fraught times like the present.
Europe—and a transfixed world—are now seeing what a real war looks like, courtesy of Putin. We are also seeing true atrocities being committed by an authoritarian regime unleashing its destructive power against a democracy.
In this context, pro-Palestinian advocates are hobbled by the truth that aggressor Russia is doing things—like targeting civilians and especially children—that have characterized Palestinian, not Israeli, behavior.
There is nothing but emptiness in Palestinian threats to renounce agreements with Israel. Rather, their need is to embrace compromise to resolve the status of the disputed territories once and for all. The urgency of doing so, once the dust settles in Ukraine, should be foremost on the Palestinian agenda.
The world can best help the Palestinian (and Israeli) people by working to develop a new Palestinian governance structure—with new leaders dedicated to peace. That new leadership must be one truly dedicated to an equitable solution for all parties and have a realistic view of its rapidly diminishing leverage in any negotiations. Its lodestar must be the Palestinian people’s wellbeing… not Israel’s destruction.
Ken Cohen is co-editor of the Hotline published by Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), which offers educational messages to correct lies and misperceptions about Israel and its relationship to the United States.