The Palestinian Authority has rejected an Israeli economic package as well as the Quartet’s attempt to revive talks, and has attacked Al Jazeera, but its rejectionism may be losing popular support as the Muslim street protest movement continues.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas threw a one-two punch at Western and Israeli approaches over the past three days. Senior PA negotiator Saeb Erekat called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s new economic co-operation package “totally unacceptable.”
The plan included a proposal for developing off-shore natural gas fields. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that his package would help make Hamas-run Gaza "independent of Israeli infrastructure by helping to develop their electricity plants, water and sewerage treatment.”
Erekat responded, “If Netanyahu wants to establish mutual trust and peace, he must stop settlement-building [and] …recognize the 'terms of reference' of the peace process, starting with the recognition of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders.”
Meanwhile, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas rebuffed an effort by the Quartet Middle East envoy to revive direct talks with Israel for establishing the Palestinian Authority as an independent country,
He also took on the popular pan-Arab Al Jazeera network, charging that it has launched a “violent campaign” against the Egyptian government of President Hosni Mubarak. The PA has used its American-trained armed forces to repress rallies expressing solidarity with protesters in Egypt.
Although few analysts foresee a revolution in the Arab-run areas of Judea and Samaria, the PA’s rejectionism is making it appear less credible to local Arabs, an image that may be seen in the near future by the international community.
"The Palestinian leadership is very nervous and is worried about what will happen to them if the Palestinian people decide they are sick and tired of the situation," 28-year-old “Rana” of Ramallah told TIME magazine’s Karl Vick.
“Najwa” of nearby Birzeit told the magazine, "When the Palestinian National Authority was established we thought that it would be different from the Arab states which are ruled by dictators. The PNA is no different, and I hope things will change here like in Tunisia, hopefully Egypt, Yemen and Jordan."