News from the Arab Press

Mahmoud Abbas’ 99% Agreement

By Asaf Zilberfarb | The Media Line

September 12, 2018

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Al-Araby al-Jadeed, London, September 7

Last week, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas met in Ramallah with an Israeli delegation of peace activists and made public statements regarding the political impasse between Israelis and Palestinians. Speaking to local and international new outlets, the Palestinian premier maintained that his government’s disputes with Israel remain “minimal.” To support his claim, he indicated that he had met with Shin-Bet officials dozens of times and agreed with them on “99% of the issues discussed.” I am unsure what is worse: the fact that the Palestinian president boasts of his ties with the Israeli secret security agency, or that he sees eye to eye with its officials on 99% of the matters brought up. Which issues are included in those 99%? Which aren’t? Does Abbas agree with the Israelis on the status of Jerusalem? The right of return? Water rights? None of this was specified. Abbas didn’t even bother issuing a clarification to his statement. Instead, he simply entertained the idea that the very government in charge of occupying and abusing his people is a legitimate peace partner with whom he has little, if any, disagreements. As a reminder, this is the very same nationalist government that has been building new settlements, confiscating Palestinian lands, and adopting controversial bills that limit the civil rights of Arabs. Instead of standing up for his people, Abbas chose to embrace Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partners. One can only hope that Abbas hasn’t forsaken the Palestinian struggle for liberation in return for empty promises from the Israelis. To save face, the PA should have at the very least rebuked Abbas’ statements. Unfortunately, we’ve heard nothing to date. Sometimes, silence speaks louder than words. – Hussam Kunfani

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