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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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What Lies Behind Mahmoud Abbas’ Latest Intemperate Speech?

Filed under: Palestinians, U.S. Policy

What Lies Behind Mahmoud Abbas’ Latest Intemperate Speech?

Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas’ latest speech of curses, delivered on March 19, 2018, this time against U.S. Ambassador David Friedman (“son of a dog”), reflects growing frustration among the Palestinian leadership with the latest developments in the Middle East in general and the Palestinian problem in particular.

Abbas connected the deteriorating situation in the Palestinian Authority (PA) with the collapse of the Arab world, and he blamed the United States for both of these issues. The initial collapse in the Arab world, he declared, was after the Arab countries compelled the Palestinian Authority to accept Hamas as a partner in the government during the general elections that were imposed upon it.

Abbas expressed his yearning for the old Middle East by using extreme expressions that commonly appeared in the speeches of Saddam Hussein.

The bottom line is that with regard to the situation of the Palestinians, as he described it in the speech, the United States had taken Jerusalem and the refugee issues out of the final status talks, and now it was removing the “settlements,” too. What remains for the sides to negotiate in a final status agreement?

According to the interpretation Abbas gave before the special international committee for aid to Gaza, which met at the White House last week (and the PA boycotted), the United States is laying the groundwork for the establishment of a state in Gaza.

Mahmoud Abbas and the leadership in Gaza are feeling increasing despair. In his previous speech, Abbas hinted at a return to an armed struggle. He did not repeat this in yesterday’s speech (March 19, 2018), but it was not ignored either. This time, he threatened Hamas, following an assassination attempt against the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister, ramping up the tension with Hamas even further. Hamas won’t sit idly. The question is if Hamas will react in the West Bank, with a strike against the Abbas’ Muqata headquarters, or indirectly through terror.