Wednesday, November 30, 2016

30-Nov-16: What do the Palestinian Arabs *not* want?

Palestinian Authority boss among friends yesterday
in Ramallah [Image Source]
If you saw our earlier post of the day ["30-Nov-16: Remind us again just how central the conflict with Israel is to the Arab world"], you will be aware that not only did the largest and controlling faction of the Palestinian Authority - Fatah - just re-elect Mahmoud Abbas to be its leader in its first general assembly in more than seven years. But its 1,400 delegates did so unanimously.

(A Guardian piece from 2015 on extremely one-sided election results makes for some good background reading, and suggests names of politicians who might be green with envy at Abbas' attainment.)

Oh, as the New York Times report that we quoted points out, and in a hall into which journalists were not admitted. For several reasons, that's a shame (and "shame" is just what we mean). Among them is the fact that Abbas's advisor for Strategic Affairs said in the Jerusalem Post ten days ago that "the upcoming congress will be a turning point for Palestinian politics". In the Palestinian Arab context, a turning point might be very welcome. And certainly worth reading about if reporters knew what they were.

But turning point or not, it's worth considering whether re-electing the feckless, reckless, terrorism-friendly "moderate" Abbas to be its leader is something that reflects popular Palestinian Arab will. 

The answer is clearly no

We refer often in this blog to Palestinian Arab public opinion as measured by Palestinian Arab public opinion polls. (They're very likely the only polls worth studying in this context.) In our most recent post on polls ["18-Oct-16: What do the Palestinian Arabs think and feel now?"] we provided evidence that, in terms of the latest Palestinian Arab opinion poll numbers:
two thirds demand Abbas resignation, Fatah has not gained any additional support during the last three months, and a majority of Palestinians believes that the PA has become a burden on the Palestinian people... Level of satisfaction with the performance of president Abbas stands at 34%...
And to this:
Dissatisfaction is related to the sense that Palestinian Arabs live lives mired in official corruption: 80% of them say they believe the PA's institutions are corrupt. The signs are they are astute enough to understand that press freedom is not going to make things better. Only 17% say there is press freedom in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, belief in freedom of the local press stands at 16%.
Aljazeera, November 26, 2016 [Source]
Bottom line: the Palestinian Arabs have just gotten precisely what they overwhelmingly don't want: more Abbas kleptocracy, corruption, nepotism, suppression, missed opportunities, stagnation.

Israel's hand in this? None.

The prospects of an Abbas-led regime bringing us all closer to peace? Roughly the same.

The one positive thing to come from this mess? That true to their core values as an honor/shame society and in the words of last week's Aljazeera news report [here], "Fatah will give Abbas an honourable exit".

And what, other than saving innocent lives on all sides, bringing an end to the weaponization of Palestinian Arab children and ending the reign of a massively corrupt, geriatric and manipulative regime, could be more important than that?

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