Mahmoud Abbas contains his frustration with the Trump administration
While the White House is holding consultations in the region to propose a plan of action, the president of the Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas Authority believes that the US has a pro-Israel approach to the conflict.
Three more months. This is the delay that the United States is calling for to end their consultations with the protagonists of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and regional actors. Aware of the impatience of Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, the White House is not in a position to propose an action plan at this stage. This is the message that Donald Trump must convey to the old “raïs” during their meeting in New York on Thursday, September 21st.
“The Americans realize that this is much more difficult than expected,” says a European diplomat. The conflict has descended into the list of their priorities. “ This is not, of course, the official tone. Benjamin Netanyahu met with Mr. Trump on Monday, 18 September, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. The President of the United States said there was “a good chance” of achieving peace. The Israeli Prime Minister also saw Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi, who wants to become a mediator.
The counselor and son-in-law of Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, lawyer Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman are the three men appointed by the US president to relaunch a round of negotiations. They have met Mahmoud Abbas and his advisers more than twenty times in eight months. And this, without pronouncing clearly in favor of the solution to two States nor to take a position on the extension of the colonies. Such a remarkable vagueness prevailed during Mr. Trump’s visit to the region at the end of May.
Palestinian irritation is strong towards Washington, whose approach to the conflict is considered biased and pro-Israeli, although for the time being the embassy has not been moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Jared Kushner does not master the subtleties of the Middle East. Palestinians mock their ignorance in private.
David Friedman is a known supporter of the settlements, opposed to a Palestinian state. As for Jason Greenblatt, careful and cordial, it seems to extend endlessly debate without him give guidance. “Every time I get Greenblatt, I always repeat the same thing about our requests, he listens to me, and then he does not propose anything,” Abbas told a foreign visitor in early August.
“This US administration has chosen a very slow and cautious method. But we are approaching the moment when the fundamental problems will have to be addressed, warns Nikolai Mladenov, special coordinator of the United Nations for the peace process. This implies, inter alia, defining the outcome of the negotiations as the two-state solution, which is the subject of an international consensus. There is no other way to allow the legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinians and the Israelis to be realized. “
For the time being, Mr. Abbas and his advisers refrain from publicly expressing their dissatisfaction. Moreover, the President of the Palestinian Authority is not ready to abandon the course of his entire career for twenty-five years: non-violence and negotiations. This would involve radical measures, such as the actual end of security coordination with the Israelis, and even the scuttling of the Palestinian Authority, which has been replaced by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). One of Abbas’s few assets is the use of the International Criminal Court against Israeli officials, a move the Americans want to dissuade.
“Washington is putting pressure on the Arab countries, which are putting pressure on” Abu Mazen “ [nickname of Mr. Abbas], summarizes Hanan Ashrawi, member of the executive committee of the PLO. The United States has a regional approach. First, they want to achieve better relations between the Arab countries and Israel, putting Arabs’ heads upside down. “ This initiative, made in 2002, based on the idea that in exchange for an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, Arab countries would establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
Yet Benjamin Netanyahu, surrounded by scandals and forced by a very right-wing majority, believes it possible to promote this historic advance with the Arab countries while putting the conflict aside. He prefers to talk about security cooperation and regional economic projects, a theme that pleases the Trump administration.
“As always, we want to give rewards to Israel and to blackmail the Palestinians” laments Hanan Ashrawi. She believes that the Palestinian leadership must adopt a new strategy. “The Palestinian Authority wants to be positive until the last minute, without insulting anyone. But why should we be the only good kind children? “