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Opinion

The Palestinian leadership hates the US

Despite gobbling billions in American aid, the Palestinian Authority sees the U.S. as the “enemy.”

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, 2017. Credit: Golden Brown/Shutterstock.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, 2017. Credit: Golden Brown/Shutterstock.
Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch
Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch is the director of the Initiative for Palestinian Authority Accountability and Reform in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; a senior legal analyst for Human Rights Voices; and a member of the Israel Defense and Security Forum.

Over the years, the U.S. has donated billions of tax dollars to the Palestinians—becoming the Palestinian Authority’s largest donor. Yet Palestinian leaders claim they “don’t trust America” and see it as the “enemy.” Vladimir Putin and Russia, on the other hand, are seen as allies and supporters.

In his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Kazakhstan, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas made his sentiments quite clear: “We don’t trust America, and you know our position. We don’t trust them and don’t rely on them, and we won’t accept under any circumstances to America being the sole party in resolving the problem.”

Speaking before Abbas, Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki lamented that while the U.S. used to be a friend of the Palestinians, it is no longer. Today it is “the enemy.”

“We have many friends in the world,” he said, “while the U.S. has retreated, and it is the enemy and Israel is its claw in the region.”

Zaki added that once the Palestinians leave the “shadow” of the U.S., they will be free to receive weapons from other sources: “Under the shadow of the U.S., no one can help us with weapons, but when its power disappears or decreases, Allah willing, we will receive help that is more than words and more than activities and processions.”

The Palestinian leadership’s attitude towards the U.S. is unsurprising. According to Abbas’s Fatah Party, it is the U.S. and the U.K. who are responsible for the fate of the Palestinians, since Israel “was brought by the U.S. and Britain”

The official Fatah Spokesman in the Gaza Strip Mundhir Al-Hayek told official P.A. TV in Septemeber, “We will not relinquish our fundamental principles until achieving all the goals, until the Palestinian people is liberated, and the source of this trouble [Israel] is removed, which was brought to the Middle East by the U.S. and Britain to play a role … to defend the interests of the international community.”

For the Palestinian narrative, historical fact is clearly irrelevant. The decision to reestablish the Jewish homeland in Israel was adopted in the aftermath of World War I at the 1920 San Remo Conference. The San Remo decision was then ratified by the international community in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. The entire focus of the Mandate was to establish a Jewish national home. The U.S. was only an observer at the San Remo Conference and never joined the League of Nations.

While some commentators attribute the P.A.’s animosity towards the U.S. to the policy changes of former President Donald Trump, as Palestinian Media Watch has shown, the Palestinians’ distain for the U.S. is a historical constant. A few examples of P.A. comments regarding the U.S. under previous administrations can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

While the Palestinian leadership has consistently demonstrated its disdain for the U.S. despite gobbling up billions in U.S. aid, Abbas sees Putin and Russia as paragons of international law. As Abbas noted in his meeting with Putin: “Russia’s position [towards the Palestinians] supports justice and international law, and from our perspective that is enough. When you say: ‘I support the decisions of the international institutions,’ this is enough for me.”

IDF Lt. Col. (res) Maurice Hirsch is director of Legal Strategies at Palestinian Media Watch.

This article was originally published by Palestinian Media Watch.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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