Op-Ed: Let Abbas Resign!
Dr. Mordechai KedarDr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at...
The "Palestinian Nation" is an imaginary entity. Is there a "Syrian Nation"? An "Iraqi Nation"? A "Libyan Nation"? A "Sudanese Nation"? They are all virtual creations of colonialism.
Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the PLO, has threatened that Mahmoud Abbas, the self-titled President (!) of the Palestinian Authority (PA), is going to resign and return the keys of his kingdom to Israel, forcing Israel to take charge of security, education, water, electricity, sewage, health, sanitation and transportation in all of Judea and Samaria.
He seems to think that he is frightening somebody, even though his threats are no more than the squeaks of a mouse that roars.
No one should be upset about these threats - for several good reasons:
First of all, Abbas does not seriously intend to act on his threat. Except for one instance in the history of the Arab world, Sudanese General Abdel Rahman Suwar al-Dahab who kept his promise to resign in 1986 – no Arab leader has ever resigned unless his successor is a family member.
Last year the Emir of Qatar resigned and gave the reins to his son. The resignation of an Arab ruler in favor of someone who is not his son is totally opposed to Middle Eastern culture where familial considerations trump every other factor – economic, nationalistic, power-wielding, administrative, legal and democratic.
The second reason is that if Abbas resigns and puts an end to the PA, how will his two sons, Yasser and Tarek, continue stealing the millions of dollars sent annually by the US and Europe for the "poor Palestinians"? How will the secret network of companies they created so as to get part of each dollar and euro that reaches the PA continue to exist?
The Arab world is long aware of the PA's corruption and is therefore willing to give it promises, commitments, hugs and kisses – but no cash. The US and European governments, who don't ask questions and don't understand this simple fact, continue to inflate the bank account balances of PA top officials.
However, the deeper reason that Abbas is not going to resign is the fact that if he does, he will burst the "Palestinian State" soap bubble with his own hands, causing the entire world to realize that the whole "Palestinian Nation" myth is a bad joke that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) managed to "sell" to a naïve world which believed it for way too long.
Almost seven years have passed since the Hamas movement fired the first bullet at the soap bubble called "a contiguous Palestinian State" when it overthrew the PA's regime in Gaza, murdered the PA security (security!) personnel in cold blood - with the few who survived finding refuge in Israel. The Jewish State handed them over to Ramallah unharmed.
It is easier today to understand that the "Palestinian Nation" is an imaginary entity. Is there a "Syrian Nation"? An "Iraqi Nation"? A "Libyan Nation"? A "Sudanese Nation"? They are all virtual creations of colonialism coupled with a small number of local intellectuals with no real ties to the populations involved. The people themselves remained, for the most part, faithful to tribal, extended family (hamula), ethnic, religious and community loyalties.
The modern Arab state failed in its most crucial mission – that of sowing roots in the hearts of the public, of becoming its primary object of identity and of convincing the public to exchange traditional frameworks for those of the modern state.
The current situation in the PA is not fundamentally different from that in the rest of the Arab world; and there is hard proof of this similarity. There is an accepted rule that when a population has a national consciousness based on the feeling of a collective, individuals are willing to sacrifice their time, strength, assets and even their lives – if necessary – for this collective. They volunteer their services and do not ask tp be recompensed for what they do for the collective.
Did the fighters of the French Resistance who risked their lives to fight the Nazis in WWII do so for money? And the Haganah fighters? The Etzel? The Lehi underground? They all acted for the goals of the collective, and since that collective really existed, they achieved a tangible and real goal.
The PA is just the opposite. People serve the PA for as long as they can count on receiving a monthly salary, which is why the PA is in need of billions of dollars in donations yearly. Without those payments, nary a worker would give his time to the PA – let alone his energies, assets and certainly not his life. PA civil servants are not volunteers; the system is rife with nepotism and other corrupt means of giving friends and cronies well-paid positions.
The only glue keeping the hamulot (extended tribal families) together in Judea and Samaria is hatred of Israel and the struggle against the existence of a Jewish state. It explains why the PA media continue to incite against Israel, as hatred for Zionism is the only commonality in the Palestinian experience and defines the PA's raison d'etre.
The Angry Americans
The Americans were extremely upset by Abbas' empty threats to resign. They and the Europeans have invested millions in creating the institutions for a functioning Palestinian Authority – actually, in enlarging the bank accounts of its leaders, their friends and cronies – and are not able to handle the thought that all this investment is going down the drain. Nor can they admit to themselves that that investment is already down the drain. They are attempting to resuscitate the dead political body called "A Palestinian state in progress" despite all the signs that show that there isn't the faintest possibility that this entity will ever arise, for a simple reason: the Palestinians do not want a state because they fear that as soon as they have a state the world will put a stop to the flow of donations to which they have developed a severe addiction.
The Americans are threatening to stop the donations right now, knowing full well that money is the most important element in creating a "Palestinian Nation" on which to base another "Palestinian State" in Judea and Samaria. They are putting all their efforts into this endeavor, despite the fact that they have no means of guaranteeing that this additional state will not turn into another Hamastan modeled on the one that was established in Gaza. It might come to pass by having "Democratic elections", such as those that took place in January 2006, or through a violent takeover like the June 2007 one that took place in Gaza.
Behind the scenes, the Americans are happy about the renewed talks between Hamas and Fatah, despite their defining Hamas as a terror organization. Both organizations are bankrupt: Hamas is bankrupt economically as a result of the closing of the smuggling tunnels from the Sinai to Gaza and Egypt's punitive measures. The PLO is ideologically, administratively and governmentally bankrupt. That is the basis of the current talks between the two groups taking place in Gaza and the worse their situations are, the better the chance for them to reach an agreement, as they seem to have done.
The Americans – and some weary Israeli souls – feel that the split between Ramallah and Gaza gave the Israeli government a good reason not to make any progress in negotiations, as anything Ramallah signed with Israel would not obligate Gaza.
However, the PLO-Hamas talks are simply another round of efforts to unify the Palestinian arena and it is highly doubtful that any agreement reached is going to last. This has happened several times in the past, when the PLO and Hamas talked and talked, negotiated endlessly, reaching agreements that were never carried out.
Anyone who can see realizes that a Palestinian state on the hills of Judea and Samaria will pose a strategic threat to Israel, putting 80% of its population under constant threat of Katyusha, Kassam and other missile barrages that no fence can stop.
No one can guarantee that what happened to Gaza will not recur tenfold in Judea and Samaria. And Israel must take it as a given that any agreements signed with Abbas will not be honored by his successors who will come up with a thousand reasons for not doing so– especially if Hamas wins a majority of parliamentary seats.
It is in Israel's interest to bring the PA to a state of total collapse, so that on its ruins the Eight Emirates Solution can be brought about. One Emirate already exists in Gaza and another seven separate Emirates must arise in Judea and Samaria: Jenin, Tul Karem, Shechem (Nablus), Kalkilya, Ramallah, Jericho and the Arab part of Hevron. Israel will have to remain in the countryside to ensure that there is no possibility of contiguity between the Emirates. The local hamulot will control their cities, providing each with legitimate and recognized power to rule, in contrast to the PLO approach.
The world will not accept this Israeli solution easily, but with regard to Abbas' resignation and the dismantling of the PA, Israel must act exactly the way Defense Minister A-Sisi did when he toppled Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi against the wishes of the USA (which is still demanding Morsi's reinstatement). Sisi acts in line with Egyptian, not American, interests. Israel must do likewise.
The government of Israel must recognized that the dissolution of the PA is a national mission and begin an international and local public relations campaign to advance the idea of the Eight Emirates. It should form a governing body for Judea and Samaria during the interim period between dissolving the PA and establishing the Emirates.
The international crisis developing in Europe and the increasingly loud sounds of war, will allow Israel to act in line with its own interests with a certain degree of freedom, as the world's attention will be focused on the Ukraine and the relations between Europe, the USA and Russia.
And Israel must be prepared for an airlift to save Ukraine's Jews, before it is too late. The burning of a synagogue is a loud and clear warning.