President Abbas Has Rendered Himself Meaningless And Must Therefore Resign
By: Fadi Zanayed — There comes a time when you have to just write the obvious. It is time for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to resign. I am at pain in writing this article, yet, I feel it is time to call for the resignation of the President. I am not alone in calling for Abbas’ resignation. Others before me have suggested the same. I have come to this decision because Abbas has lost all credibility in the eyes of the Palestinian people, the Israelis and the world.
Let me analyze what he has done in the past two years which has led me to call for his resignation.
WHAT DID ABBAS DO DURING THE WAR ON GAZA?
During the devastating and disproportionate Israeli war on Palestinians in Gaza what did he do? I could not recall that he did anything significant. During those dark days of Palestinian history, when the people he is the leader of are under a direct murderous military attack, what did he do? To be fair to Abbas, I tried to search the internet for something in his defense. The only thing I could find were comments stating that he finally came out and spoke against the Israeli aggression, but only on the 18th day as Palestinians were being slaughtered by Israeli forces
He said during a Palestinian Liberation meeting in Ramallah, “This is the 18th day of the Israeli aggression against our people, which has become more ferocious each day as the number of victims rises. Israel is keeping up this aggression to wipe out our people over there.” Those were his strongest words up to that date.
WHAT DID ABBAS DO WITH THE GOLDSTONE REPORT?
After a cease fire was arranged, the United Nations commissioned a report on the Israel war on Gaza. That report came to be known as the Goldstone Report, named after the South African jurist Richard Goldstone’s fact-finding mission at the UN Human Rights Council. There were widespread reports in September, 2009 that Abbas agreed to delay submission of the Goldstone Report in exchange for financial favors from Israel—frequencies for the mobile provider Wataniya. Abbas denied any connection to Wataniya.
Many Palestinians were angry with the delay in the submission of the Goldstone Report. Palestinian political activists took to the Internet and commented against Abbas’ delay and tried to influence him to do otherwise. Facebook comments against the delay abounded.The decision led to street protests by Palestinians and condemnation around the Arab world.
A chance to hold Israeli leaders accountable for their war crimes was lost.
WHY HASN’T ABBAS DEFENDED THE FREE AND OPEN PALESTINIAN ELECTIONS?
Maybe Abbas’ reaction to the Goldstone Report and his reluctance to say or do anything of significance during the Israel aggression against the Palestinians of Gaza is due to the political troubles with Hamas.
Here again, the rift between Abbas’ party Fatah and Hamas has weakened Palestinians visa via Israel and the rest of the world.
In January 2006, Hamas won 74 out of 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections. This was a free and open democratic election, as observed by former President Jimmy Carter who said,”If you sponsor an election or promote democracy and freedom around the world, then when people make their own decision about their leaders, I think that all the governments should recognize that administration and let them form their government.” Despite this common sense view, Israel and the US would not deal with Hamas unless Hamas recognized the State of Israel and denounced violence.
Instead of standing up for the decision of the people in choosing Hamas and questioning why Israel had political parties that promote Zionist expansion, seek an exclusive Jewish state and promote the denial of Palestinian rights, Abbas kept negotiating with Israel and allowed Israel to make a wide rift between Fatah and Hamas.
WHY HASN’T ABBAS DEFENDED HAMAS BY COUNTER-ATTACKING RACIST PARTIES WITHIN ISRAEL?
RabbiOvadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party, a coalition partner within the Netanyahu government, has openly called Palestinians “evil, bitter enemies of Israel” and said Abbas “and all these evil people should perish from this world. God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians.” Yet no one has said that Israeli leaders should denounce the Shas party and that Palestinians will not negotiate with Israel as long as that party has official status within the Israeli government.
Previously Yosef had called Arabs as “vipers,” and called for Israel to “annihilate” Arabs. “It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.”
Despite this racist ideology by a coalition partner of the Netanyahu government, Abbas has said nothing or at the very least, he has not objected to the refusal of the US and Israel to allow Hamas into any peace negotiations.
ABBAS’ WORD CANNOT BE TRUSTED
On many occasions, Abbas has threatened to resign as President. Of course, he has never done so. Last week he threatened to resign if the current peace talks fail. Will he resign? In keeping with his word, no as his previous empty threats has rendered his words meaningless. How can Palestinians have a leader whose words are ignored? If he has never carried through on his threats, how can anyone believe anything he has to say?
Earlier this month, Abbas threatened to walk away from the peace talks if Netanyahu does not extend the 10 month settlement freeze. That extension expired on September 26, 2010 and instead of “not negotiating with Israel for a single day” after the expiration of the settlement freeze, if not extended, Abbas stated that he would consult with the Arab League.
This was the last straw for me. Abbas is not a man of his word. He does not walk the talk. His talk the talk attitude without any substance, without any actions behind his words renders him useless. To illustrate this point, an article in the self-proclaimed anit-settlement daily newspaper,Haaretz,states that “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, his threats to the contrary, will not scuttle the peace talks that have begun just because Netanyahu isn’t extending the freeze.” (emphasis added).
His “threats to the contrary”?—what does this mean? It means that his word, the Palestinian word, is of insignificance.
Abbas entered into peace talks in September without extracting an answer on whether the settlement freeze will be extended beyond September. He agreed to peace talks with a hollow threat that he will walk away from the peace talks if the settlement freeze is not extended. They weren’t and Abbas balked—wanting to consult with the Arab League.
Why was Abbas’ threat hollow? The answer is in Abbas’ words which were not followed by action. He has threatened before and he has done nothing. Nothing was expected from his threats because nothing ever came out of the previous threats.
Abbas has rendered himself meaningless and therefore he must resign.
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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