Abu Mazen’s legitimacy plunging

Just two months ago, Abu Mazen’s western backers (and bank-rollers) were lauding the non-trivial achievement he racked up by being able to convene a selected list of invitees to the Fateh General Conference. In the weeks since then, his political standing in the Palestinian street has taken four nosedives:

    1. Two weeks ago he was forced by his US funders to go and make nice at the “three-way” with Obama and Netanyahu at the General Assembly– despite Netanyahu having blithely continued with his construction of Jews-only settlements on Palestinian land in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.
    2. Obama, on whom Abu Mazen had pinned so many hopes, has apparently caved on continuing to do anything serious to hold Israel to account for its settlement construction– and he has taken no concrete actions on the peace diplomacy, either.
    3. The concerted campaign by the Israeli government, the rightwing Jerusalem municipality, and quasi-non-governmental settler groups to Judaize Jerusalem while ruthlessly suppressing the rights of the city’s rightful Palestinian residents, has continued; and finally
    4. In “the war over the war over Gaza”, Abu Mazen made a massive concession to the Israelis by having his person at the UN Human Rights Council ask to “defer” any further action on the Goldstone Report until March. For many Palestinians around the world, Abu Mazen’s betrayal of the Goldstone/UN push to hold the Israeli government somewhat accountable for the death and destruction it inflicted on Gaza last winter has been a turning point.

In this post Sunday, Long knives in Ramallah over Goldstone?, I quoted an Al-Quds al-Arabi report alleging it had been Salam Fayyad who made the decision to kill the Goldstone Report (at least, for now.) But now, a lot of other accounts are coming out tracing the decision to Mahmoud Abbas himself, Abu Mazen.
Al-Jazeera English quoted the head of the human rights department in Qatar’s foreign ministry as very directly attributing the decision to Abu Mazen.
Some accounts (e.g. Al-Jazeera Arabic) have him doing it because he was blackmailed. Some, e.g. Maan, have him doing it because he got diplomatically snookered.
Both those latter accounts, by the way, rely on Israeli sources of unknown veracity, so who knows what his real motivation was? (Another account I’ve seen said the decision was linked to Israeli blackmail over control of the electromagnetic spectrum, and their release of some bandwidth that would have benefited a telecoms venture in which one of his sons is involved.)
Anyway, all four of the factors listed above are, together, responsible for Abu Mazen’s rapidly plunging political fortune.
For him– and for all of us who hoped for a saner US peace diplomacy after the departure of Pres. G.W. Bush from power– Obama’s intervention has been a big disappointment. Actually, for Abu Mazen, it’s far worse than a disappointment. It’s a political catastrophe.
And for the long-suffering people of Palestine? A catastrophe, too. But they will probably see this as the latest in a long series of the catastrophes they’ve suffered, and one that no doubt– at the cost of much, quite avoidable, continued suffering– they will somehow find a way to weather. Their fate is not, after all, totally tethered to the political fortunes of Abu Mazen.

15 thoughts on “Abu Mazen’s legitimacy plunging

  1. Salah

    The Fifth Factors
    سر شريط الفديو الذي عرضه رئيس الموساد على ابو مازن بحضور محمد دحلان قبل ساعات من قرار ابو مازن سحب تقرير غولدستون

  2. Rob

    I find your blog informative even if I frequently disagree with your conclusions.This is a good case in point.
    I totally agree with you that Abu Mazen is a pathetic thug who’s been propped up by the West since the Bush Administration.
    Having pushed Fatah into an election in hopes of legitimizing them, the Bush Administration got Hamas instead. Instead of recognizing this as a true representation of where the majority of Palestinians are,and because supporting a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot with a genocidal agenda would have been embarrassing, the US resorted to propping up Fatah and an attempted coup in Gaza, which also backfired.
    In fact, (as General Dayton himself admitted) if the IDF weren’t monitoring the security in Judea and Samari (AKA the West Bank) Hamas would take over easily.
    Palestinians I know jokingly refer to Abu Mazen as ‘The President of Ramallah’.
    As far as ‘Judaizing’ Jerusalem goes, I find it interesting that you would quote Ma’an, a Jordanian source. I find it bitterly amusing that a quasi-governmental Jordanian paper would be yelping about the rights of Palestinians when the Jordanian government is arbitrarily disenfranchising Palestinians who hold Jordanian citizenship – in some cases, for years.
    Israel may not be perfect, but there is a difference between them and their adversaries.
    You seem a sensible person with a regard for truth, and I think we can agree that if the Israelis in 1967 had engaged in the sort of ethnic cleansing the Arabs engaged in after 1948, there would not be a single Arab now living in Jerusalem, or indeed west of the Jordan River.
    That especially applies to Jerusalem. The Israelis remember the brutal Jordanian occupation, the desecration of their Holy Sites and the Jordanian attempt to colonize the Old City. And recent remarks by the Palestinians on the matter saying in effect that the Jews have no right to any access to the Old City haven’t improved matters.
    It’s a red line, one the Israelis will never cross.
    That also applies to the proposed ‘unity government’ with Hamas. One can’t expect Israel or any other country to make peace with a government that contains people who have the genocide of most of its present inhabitants as one of their major goals.
    Nor would anyone sincerely interested in peace expect them to.

  3. bevin

    It is nonsensical to describe Hamas as having a ‘genocidal’ agenda.
    Rob, you undermine your attempt to appear reasonable by prefacing your disquisition thus.
    If you really believe that Hamas is genocidal, or expresses genocidal ambitions, you are mistaken.
    If you are not so foolish, you are something much worse; for to make a false accusation of this sort is to pave the way for criminals.
    The blood libel precedes the pogrom.

  4. Rob

    I don’t lie, Bevin.
    I suggest you check out the Hamas Charter and the Martyr’s Oath , as well as what Hamas programs in its children’s shows.
    Hamas calls for the murder of not just Jewish Israelis (which is horrific enough) but all Jews.
    If you wish to endorse that, fine. But I prefer you be honest about it. And realize that if you endorse that, you have no business complaining about the lack of a peaceful settlement or anything that Israel does to protect its citizens.
    Oh, and by the way, the ridiculous ‘blood libel’ slur is duly noted.
    Shame on you.
    Rob @ Joshuapundit

  5. Salah

    Brief History of Israeli Terror Killings Since 1946
    The King David Hotel July 22, 1946 Bombing
    The Menachem Begin-led Irgun planned and conducted the massacre of 92 Brits, Arabs and Jews, wounding 58 others. As head of the Jewish Agency, David Ben-Gurion approved the operation. It was to destroy British-gathered evidence that its leaders colluded with the Haganah, Palmach, Irgun and Stern gangs in a wave of terrorist crimes and killings. Bombing the King David Hotel was the most notorious and followed a pattern before and since of brutal Israeli state terrorism.
    The British Secretariat of the Palestine Government and British Army HQ kept offices in the hotel. Attackers disguised as milkmen, planted explosives in milk containers, placed them in the basement and left. At the time, the action shocked the civilized world and outraged the British leadership and House of Commons.
    Other Israeli Terrorist Incidents against Palestinians
    — Tira, December 11, 1947 – five Palestinians were killed and six injured;
    — a village outside Haifa, December 12, 1947 – 12 Palestinians killed;
    — a village outside Tel Aviv, December 14, 1947 – 18 Palestinians killed and 100 injured;
    — al-Khias, December 18, 1947 – the paramilitary Haganah killed 10 Palestinians, most inside their homes;
    — Haifa, December 30, 1947 – six Palestinians killed and 42 wounded;
    — Jerusalem, December 30, 1947 – Irgun terrorists threw a bomb from a speeding car killing 11 Palestinians and two Brits;
    — Balad Esh-Sheikh, December 31, 1947 – the Haganah killed 60 Palestinians, most inside their homes;
    — Jaffa, January 4, 1948 – the Stern Gang killed up to 30 and wounded 100 in a truck bombing;
    — the Semiramis Hotel, Jerusalem, January 4, 1948 – the Haganah bombed the hotel killing 25 civilians;
    — Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem, January 7, 1948 – 17 Palestinians killed;
    — Tireh, February 10, 1948 – seven Palestinians killed and five injured;
    — on a bus from Safad, February 12, 1948 – five Palestinians killed and five injured;
    — Sa’sa’, February 14, 1948 – 60 Palestinians killed, mostly in their homes;
    — Qisarya, February 15 – 20, 1948 – 25 Palestinians killed;
    — Haifa, February 20, 1948 – six Palestinians killed and 36 wounded;
    — Haifa, March 3, 1948 – the Stern Gang blew up the Salameh Building killing 11 Palestinians and wounding 27;
    — al-Husayniyya, March 12 and 16 – 17 – the Palmach twice raided the village killing 15 and wounding 20 in the first attack; killing 30 in the second one;
    — Jews blew up a train near Benjamina on March 31, 1948 killing 25 Palestinians and wounding 61;
    — al-Sarafand, April 5, 1948 – 16 Palestinians were killed and 12 wounded, most when a house was mortared;
    — Dier Yassin, April 9, 1948 – the Menachem Begin-led Irgun slaughtered well over 120 Palestinian men, women and children in a bloody rampage; The New York Times reported 254 killed on April 13; 53 orphaned children were dumped like trash along the wall of the Old City; homes were dynamited with inhabitants inside; people were shot at close range, including children; the massacre marked the beginning of what followed during Israel’s “War of Independence:” depopulating 531 towns and villages; 11 urban neighborhoods; massacring or displacing 800,000 Palestinians; and committing countless rapes and other atrocities;” remember Dier Yassin; it, too, is immortalized;
    — Tel Litvinsky, April 19, 1948 – Jews killed 90 Palestinians;
    — Tiberias, April 19, 1948 – Jews blew up a home killing Palestinians inside;
    — Ayn al-Zaytun and nearby villages, May 1 – 4, 1948 – 27 Palestinians killed;
    — Acre, May 18, 1948 – Israeli troops killed over 100 Palestinians;
    — al-Kabri, May 20, 1948 – Israeli forces killed villagers and machine-gunned children who survived;
    — al-Tantura, May 22 – 23, 1948 – Israeli troops killed over 200 villagers, mostly unarmed young men shot in cold blood;
    — on May 26, 1948, David Ben-Gurion formed the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) from the Haganah;
    — Lydda, July 11 – 12, 1948 – the IDF killed several hundred civilians, including 80 machine-gunned inside the Dahmash mosque;
    — Elot, late July, 1948 – the IDF arrested 46 young men; on August 3, several were found dead, and 14 of those arrested were shot in cold blood in an olive grove – in full view of the villagers;
    — Suqrir, August 29, 1948 – the IDF killed 10 villagers;
    — Hula, Lebanon, October 24 – 29, 1948 – the IDF machine-gunned 50 villagers;
    — al-Dawayima, October 29, 1948 – the IDF killed up to 200 villagers;
    — Majd al-Kurum, October 30, 1948 – the IDF slaughtered 20 or more villagers in cold blood;
    — Saliha, October 30, 1948 – IDF forces blew up a house killing 94 Palestinians;
    — Sa’sa’, October 30, 1948 – hundreds of Palestinians were slaughtered in cold blood; the entire village was expelled;
    — Nahf, October 31, 1948 – a brutal massacre was carried out of unknown numbers;
    — Khirbat al-Wa’ra al-Sawda, November 2, 1948 – the IDF killed 14 villagers;
    — Beit Jala, January 6, 1952 – seven Palestinians were slaughtered in cold blood;
    — Jerusalem, April 22, 1953 – the IDF killed 10 Palestinians;
    — Bureji Refugee Camp, August 28, 1953 – the IDF killed 20 Palestinians and wounded 62 others;
    — Qibya, Jordan, October 14, 1953 – Ariel Sharon’s infamous Unit 101 killed 70 villagers;
    — Nahalin, Jordan, March 28, 1954 – the IDF killed nine Arabs and wounded 19;
    — Gaza City, April 5, 1956 – IDF shelling killed 56 and wounded 193;
    — Kafr Kassem, October 29, 1956 – the IDF killed about 50 men, women and children;
    — the Suez War, October 29 – November 7, 1956 – the IDF executed about 273 Egyptian soldiers and civilians in cold blood;
    — Khan Yunis, November 3, 1956 – the IDF killed dozens of civilians in cold blood;
    — Rafah Refugee Camp, November 12, 1956 – the IDF slaughtered over 100 Palestinians;
    Rob, with all above, you seen just Hamas Charter?
    So are you justifying all terrorist event above?

  6. honi the circle drawer

    “I totally agree with you that Abu Mazen is a pathetic thug”
    Since Helena never made any such statement, you are not agreeing with her, but putting your own words into her mouth.
    “Palestinians I know”
    All the Palestinians I have known would quickly tire of the company of a tiresome hasbarabot troll such as yourself. Could you briefly name and describe some of these Palestinians you are in the habit of joking with?
    “You seem a sensible person with a regard for truth”
    Can you tell us why you describe Helena thus? Do you find her writings on Hamas and Hizbollah truthful and sensible, for example?
    “if the Israelis in 1967 had engaged in the sort of ethnic cleansing the Arabs engaged in after 1948”
    I think you will find the numbers ethnically cleansed by the Israelis after 1967 to be much greater than those of Jews expelled after 1948.
    “recent remarks by the Palestinians on the matter saying in effect that the Jews have no right to any access to the Old City ”
    Can you refer us to such remarks made by “the Palestinians”. Or are we back to these mythical Palestinian friends that you joke with?
    “One can’t expect Israel or any other country to make peace with a government that contains people who have the genocide of most of its present inhabitants as one of their major goals.”
    Actually Israel made peace with Egypt, a ccuntry headed by a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood and an admirer of Hitler, which had been portrayed by Israelis as bent on genocide right up until Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem. And it made peace with Jordan, which you argue actually carried out a genocide which “Israelis remember”. So it shouldn’t be too difficult to make peace with Hamas, although it is obviously difficult to make peace with anybody if your approach is based on positions held over 2 decades previously by entirely different people, or indeed children’s TV programmes.

  7. Alexno

    I suggest you check out the Hamas Charter and the Martyr’s Oath , as well as what Hamas programs in its children’s shows.
    we discussed all that a few weeks ago; check back in Helena’s archives. it is simply false, hasbara stuff; the fact you believe shows your allegiance.

  8. Helena

    Maan is completely NOT a Jordanian news source, as a moment’s familiarity with its work would show anyone. (Perhaps the writer was confusing it with the Petra news agency?)
    Ma’an, also Maan, is the flagship Palestinian news agency headquartered in Bethlehem. The name is Arabic for “together.” So much for faux “expertise”, eh?
    Also, as noted, I have not described Abu Mazen as a “pathetic thug.” I don’t think he’s a thug. I think he is a man caught up in a searing tragedy, the authors of which are quite clearly the members of Israel’s settler-government nexus and their enablers in Washington.

  9. John Francis Lee

    I don’t know if Mahmoud Abbas is a thug or not. He looks to be just another self-interested stooge, of the same sort as Barack Obama. Here’s one recommendation…
    Time for Mahmoud Abbas to step down

    The Palestinian presidency has become an international embarrassment. It generates no respect among the four principal constituencies where it should matter: the Palestinian people, the Israeli people and government, the Arab people and governments, and the rest of the world. It is shocking – unbelievable, in fact – that Abbas should have totally wasted away the last bits of credibility and respect that Yasser Arafat had left him.

    Mahmoud Abbas has failed his people, but he can partially redeem himself and set the stage for his successor to play a more effective role.

    He should act with honor and confidence by stepping down as Palestinian president, calling a new election to bring in a more legitimate and capable leadership, and focusing his energy on where he started his days decades ago when he still had credibility and courage – by reconstituting the PLO as the coordinating body for all Palestinians.

    … good suggestion for Obama too. Unfortunately we’re stuck on a mindless treadmill for our elections in the USA and it’s “four more years” for the Neocon aggressors and their dupes in DC.
    Unrest continues for third day in East Jerusalem

    Also Tuesday, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat accused Israel of provoking tensions in the area.

    “Israel is lighting matches in the hope of sparking a fire, deliberately escalating tensions in occupied East Jerusalem rather than taking steps to placate the situation,” Erakat said.

    “What makes this all the more dangerous is the vacuum created by the absence of a credible peace process that offers hope instead of more settlements.”

    “This is an extremely dangerous situation. Our greatest fear is that clashes will spread as Israel intensifies its repression, increases arrests and mobilizes the full force of its military against ordinary Palestinians,” Erakat said.

    There was no immediate Israeli response.

    On Sunday, some 150 Palestinians rioted at one of the city’s holiest sites, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram Al-Sharif.

    The rioting occurred near the site after police closed the area to Muslim worshippers and visitors. Police said they did so to minimize the possibility of violence after calls were issued in Palestinian media to “come and protect the mount.”

    Everything is going according to plan. I’m sure that Rahm Emanuel is pleased with the preformance of the puppet in his charge.
    Do Americans care that they’ve put an Israeli dupe in the White House? Nope. That’s the conclusion one must draw from the lack of any reaction at all.
    There are at least sixty-one non-comatose people left in the USA though…
    Scores arrested in protest at White House

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (UPI) — Sixty-one people, including anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan, were arrested Monday during a demonstration outside the White House, U.S. Park Police said.

    Bush II wouldn’t meet Cindy Sheehan and neither will Bush III. And the “progressives” and “liberals” in the Bay Area turned their back on Cindy and voted for Pelosi. And Obama.
    Americans are just fine with aggression and genocide… and they’ll even sit on their hands while the White House robs them, their children, and their grandchildren blind and hands the proceeds over to the banksters of Wall Street.
    Democracy requires that the people run their country. When we don’t we get this monstrous, murderous mess… and there is no one to blame but ourselves.

  10. John Francis Lee

    The sordid facts.
    How Israel Buried the UN’s War Crime Probe

    Defense officials were reported to be angry that the PA had supported the attack on Gaza when it was launched last winter but were now pressing for Israeli soldiers to be put in the dock. One senior figure was quoted by the Haaretz newspaper saying: “The PA has reached the point where it has to decide whether it is working with us or against us.”

    Barack Obama and Mahmoud Abbas have both chosen the side with the butter on it.
    The butter is made of the melted hearts of Palestinians.

  11. KevinB

    Rob’s bloviating on the reserved tactics of the Israelis remind me of the heighty self-import and over-aggrandizement of the barbarous nature of the other by colonizers and warmongers of old(and today) as they went about their wars and other business. The Brits looking down on the Boer’s use of a more destructive bullet type as heinous while rounding up people in concentration camps, for example. We’re *civilized* in our conduct while the other side is most certainly not in theirs, you see? Not at all.
    I don’t see Jordan occupying millions of people and building colonies on their land. I don’t see Jordan killing 1400 people in a month. I don’t see Jordan maintaining a destructive and debilitating siege on a city of over a million people, to deadly results.
    Oh, but you stopped short of fully ethnically cleansing the West Bank and Gaza 40 years ago, oh, I see, that justifies everything you do, you’re not barbarians at all. Here, have my pat on the back to join your own. You’re so much more civilized than the other.
    How about instead of congratulating yourself for the extreme things you refrained from doing and how good natured you must be because of it, you start looking at the things you actually are doing to others in the present day, and for the past decades. Your actual deeds, which are not so magnanimous.

  12. Rob

    Well, I seem to have provoked a few reactions.
    Salah I have no intention of parsing your list, although a brief glance is enough to show me that your list of ‘terror killings’ is highly selective and interpretive. You obviously still believe in fairy tales like the ‘Jenin Massacre’.
    For the rest of you, isn’t it amazing that the almighty Israelis are obviously the most incompetent terrorists and ethnic cleansing practitioners on earth, since over a million Arabs still live in Israel and other inhabit parts of Gaza, Judea and Samaria. Who would have thought that the Arab nations would surpass them in this important area?
    (oh, btw, Kevin B – speaking of ethnic cleansing, you might want to look at how thorough the Arab world was at ethnically cleansing almost one million Jews from the Arab world.)
    Hamas has always embraced the idea of genocide for the Jews. It’s in their charter and it’s what they teach their children. Again, if some of you wish to embrace that, fine by me. Merely be honest about it, and don’t complain if the Israelis take certain measures to prevent it.
    It also might surprise all of you that when it comes to killing and expelling Palestinians, Jordan far exceeds Israel.. Read up on Black September some time.Countries like Kuwait and Iraq haven’t done so badly either.
    FTR, I’m not an Israeli but I confess to having an interest in justice, but it extends on both sides of the conflict. I appear to differ with a great many people on this board in that respect.
    Oh, one more thing. My apologies for misinterpeting Ms. Cobban’s take on Abbas. The words ‘pathetic thug’ are my own. I think the description is apt when someone steals an misappropriates monies designated for humanitarian aid and passes them out to himself and his cronies, jails the political opposition and makes a hero out of people like child murderers and insists on their release.
    I’m certain the above will evoke some vituperative responses, and I have neither the time nor inclination for a boring flame war but I would suggest that the people on this board consider a few things.
    First, Israel isn’t going anywhere. The Israelis are already home, and while some of you might enjoy the idea of a massive annihilation of the Jews by the Arabs, it isn’t going to happen.
    On the other hand, by refusing to take a balanced look at this conflict and simply demonizing one side, you’re convincing a lot of Israelis that any concessions or attempt at resolution is suicidal.
    The fallout from Oslo and Gaza have already done a pretty good job of that, but you might want to think about whether you really want to be part of that.

  13. Donald

    I didn’t see Jenin mentioned, Rob, except by you, but there were war crimes committed in Jenin by the Israelis, with roughly 20 civilians killed, some in ways that could only be described as murder. Yes, there were initial inflated claims of much larger numbers (and btw, an Israeli general was one of the first to put out those inflated numbers, for whatever reason).
    Your claim about Black September and Jordan’s record of killing of Palestinians is old news to most people here, I’m sure. And your claim that the number of deaths far exceeds that killed by Israel can’t be substantiated–there is a range of estimates for the number killed then, and by some estimates Israel has killed more Palestinians. I’ve seen others make the claim you make, that Jordan is far worse, so it must be popular in certain circles to argue in this fashion. I don’t claim to know which numbers are right–you seem to think you do, but I suspect you’ve just accepted what you wanted to believe.
    Anyway, the idea that Israel could be vindicated if one can point to some Arab dictatorship that was worse is peculiar. You don’t really come across as the human rights type to me–you sound more like the kind of ideologue that writes for The New Republic or Commentary–they like to argue the way you do.
    And speaking of demonization, you do a pretty good job of it in your own posts. It must make it easier for you if you just assume that your opponents are pro-genocide. It’s an intellectually dishonest way to argue, but no doubt emotionally satisfying for you.

  14. Shirin

    Well, I seem to have provoked a few reactions.
    Yes, large steaming piles of processed bull food do tend to have that effect.
    Oh, and by the way, you guys need to come up with some new material. All this stuff was really stale and boring decades ago.

  15. honi the circle drawer

    Still waiting for some information on these Palestinians you know and joke with, and who are apparently happy to pass the time of the day with a tedious hasbarabot troll? And why you characterise Helena as “a sensible person with a regard for the truth” rather than a shameless apologist for Hamas genocide?
    “I’m not an Israeli”.
    Gosh, what a surprise. Virtually none of the tedious trolls who turn up here to “defend Israel” are, strangely enough.
    “but I confess to having an interest in justice, but it extends on both sides of the conflict.”
    No, your interest in justice seems to extend to denying justice to one party to this conflict on the basis of injusticed committed to the other party. It might be described rather as a commitment to ensuring equal injustice.

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