U.S. reaches out to Palestinian leaders, many angry and reject

Jerusalem (AP) — After weeks of anxiety and a devastating 11-day war in Gaza, the United States and the international community plan to work with Palestinians to revive their efforts for peace.

But when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits on Tuesday, he will meet Palestinian leaders who have been on the sidelines by protests and defeated by the radical Hamas group.

The Palestinian Authority is no closer to the state than when Mahmoud Abbas, now 85, was elected president in 2005 after Yasser Arafat’s death, and the Palestinians are much more divided. Abbas canceled his first election in 15 years last month, When his split Fatah party appeared to suffer an embarrassing defeat.

However, PA maintains a close security relationship with Israel and is deeply investing in the idea of ​​a two-state solution. Internationally, even if there has been no substantive peace talks for more than a decade, it is considered the only way to resolve a dispute.

Hamas, an Islamic extremist group, was poised to win again in the last election in 2006. However, it does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and is blacklisted as a terrorist organization. Protests in Jerusalem and elsewhere are mostly leaderless.

Tahani Mustafa, an analyst at the Crisis Group, an international think tank, said:

Israel and the United States appear to be taking a second route, with officials from both countries saying they want to strengthen PA at the expense of Hamas. This is a recurring attempt and failure since Hamas seized power from the Abbas army in Gaza in 2007. ..

Many Palestinians have come to consider PA as part of it An increasingly intolerable system of Israeli rule This extends far beyond the occupied west coast, where PA controls major densely populated areas under Israel’s comprehensive control.

Their anger boiled last month in protests and clashes in Jerusalem, eventually spreading throughout the region, drawing in Israeli Palestinian citizens and causing the Gaza War.

It vividly when thousands of Palestinian worshipers chanted “Go out, the dog of authority!” In a Friday prayer at the flammable sanctuary Al-Aqsa Mosque in the heart of the recent mayhem. It was exhibited. In response to a sermon from Mufti appointed by PA.

This was in stark contrast to the noisy rallies held in Al-Aqsa and elsewhere to assist Hamas and Mohammed Diff, the commander behind the armed wings of the group.

Unlike the PA, which issued a harsh word statement against Israeli crackdown on Al-Aqsa And Attempts to expel dozens of families by Jewish settlers From a nearby neighborhood Deif issued an ultimatum.. When time was running out, Hamas launched a long-range rocket, confusing the parade celebrating its claims to the city of Israel.

It caused a devastating Gaza War, killing more than 250 people, the majority of whom were Palestinians, and causing widespread destruction in poor areas.

But it also allows Hamas to portray itself as a wise defender of Jerusalem, where both sides of the Middle East conflict have deep emotional ties, which hits much more powerful Israel. It made it possible to say that.

Mkhaimar Abusada, a professor of political science at the University of Al-Azhar in Gaza, says support for Hamas is growing amid widespread disappointment with PA.

“After all, it was Israel that destroyed these buildings. We are suffering from the occupation of Israel. We are suffering from the oppression of Israel … Palestinians blame Hamas. I have no intention. “

Hanan Ashlawi, a former Palestinian official and veteran of the peace process Those who broke up with Palestinian leaders last yearPartially condemned Israel for the collapse of the PA and said it “interfered” with two state solutions: Expansion of the village..

“The more this happened, the more (Palestinian leaders) were considered powerless before the Israeli breach. Israel proceeded with complete immunity to make Palestinian life more and more miserable.” She said.

Israel states that it has made various proposals and rejected over the years to most Palestinian states (the territories occupied by the war in 1967) on the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. Palestinians negotiated from a weakness standpoint and said the offer was not well underway.

Respected pollster Karil Shikaki, who has been investigating Palestinian opinion for over 20 years, said Hamas’ popularity usually rises during periods of conflict and returns to normal once things settle down. But he states that the PA’s legitimacy crisis is a reality.

“This last war between Israel and Hamas showed that the emperor was really naked,” he said.

Hamas could claim to have defended Jerusalem when no one else (Abbas, the Arab nations, or the international community) was willing to do anything, Shikaki said.

“This story is absolutely amazing in terms of its effectiveness, and Hamas avoided it because Abbas has zero credibility among the Palestinians,” he said.

Controlling less than 40% of the West Bank, even if the president’s mission expired more than a decade ago, it does not prevent Abbas from welcoming Blinken as a Palestinian leader to Ramallah’s presidential palace this week. .. His army does not exist in Gaza and the elections have been canceled, so it is unlikely that he will return soon.

Therefore, it is widely expected that reconstruction funds will go through the United Nations and Qatar. They had already poured aid into Gaza and carried out humanitarian projects there as part of an informal ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. This is the only meaningful Israeli-Palestinian agreement reached in recent memory.


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