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Datum objave: 02.09.2018
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Jerusalem Post

THE PA AT THE END OF ABBAS’S REIGN..........ABBAS: TRUMP OFFERED US PEACE PLAN BASED ON CONFEDERATION WITH JORDAN

THE PA AT THE END OF ABBAS’S REIGN

https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/The-PA-at-the-end-of-Abbass-reign-566204

Each of the candidates sees himself as a serious candidate to replace the Palestinian president, but none of them has been named by Abbas as his heir.

Quite a few research papers and intelligence assessments have been written on the performance of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and especially on what will follow him. The problem is the sheer number of possible scenarios they propose.

Abbas inherited from his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, a governmental authority that was partially defunct. However, that was not a result of its political, social, leadership, managerial or administrative perspective.

Exactly as it did 10 or 20 years ago, the PA today still relies entirely on international aid on the one hand, and on the tax collection, electricity and transportation infrastructure of the State of Israel on the other. Over all these years, the PA has not developed its own economy and has continued to rely entirely on Israel’s, so that nearly all Palestinian households depend entirely on livelihoods earned from Israeli employers.

The refugee camps in the West Bank today look exactly as they did when Israel pulled out of these areas in 1991. Since then, the PA has done nothing to improve the status or living conditions of the people living there.

Abbas, as was clear from the start, is a very weak leader who lacks charisma and administrative ability. In all his years of control, he has not carried out one important move to benefit his people or strengthen his authority. Due to of this weakness and lack of political leadership, Hamas began to sneak into West Bank politics in recent years, with the intention of instigating a popular coup that would end Fatah’s dominance, similar to what happened in the Gaza Strip.

Fatah leaders themselves already understand that Abbas will not make any significant decisions before the end of his term. The struggle for succession over the Palestinian leadership already began two or three years ago, without Abbas officially announcing the end of his rule.

In addition to the dangers coming from Hamas, many challengers to and opponents of Abbas have risen, even from within Fatah. Most notable are Mohammed Dahlan and Marwan Barghouti, who want to replace him as soon as possible and inherit his leadership.

While there are other figures in the Palestinian arena who are chasing this prey, they are building their status in Abbas’s shadow and under the pretense of loyalty to him. Among these are: Jibril Rajoub, former head of the Preventive Security Force in the West Bank and now head of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, and Majed Faraj, who is the current head of Palestinian intelligence and a loyal confidant of Abbas. Both of them marked their target long ago.

However, in the last few months, two additional figures have joined the race.

The first is Mahmoud Aloul, the current deputy chairman of Fatah. Aloul sees himself as the natural choice to serve as chairman of the organization after Abbas’s departure. The other is Tawfiq Tirawi, who served as head of general Palestinian intelligence in the West Bank during the Second Intifada. Tirawi was forced to leave his post after being found to be involved in terrorist activities against the State of Israel and allowing those under his command to attack the IDF and West Bank settlers.

ALL OF THESE characters have a significant foothold in the field. Dahlan has excellent relations with Hamas in the Gaza Strip and brings with him a substantial dowry from the Gulf states. He also enjoys the faith of Egypt and profits from the popularity of Barghouti. Rajoub gained considerable support and strength from working with PA security forces in the West Bank and still has a great deal of influence, specifically in the Hebron area. Majed Faraj has the benefit in his current position of having forces under his command, and is widely accepted in the halls of the US administration. Aloul also benefits from his current position and is widely supported by the Fatah-led Tanzim organization he has headed for many years.

Each of these men sees himself as a serious candidate to replace the Palestinian president, but none of them has been named by Abbas as his heir. This means whoever wants to take the job will have to fight for it and demonstrate his power. The candidates have already been establishing this power for a long time: They have built support bases within the refugee camps and cities; they have established armed militias that are loyal to them and are funded by their own money; and they continually try to increase their media and organizational presence.

The most likely scenario is that nothing new will happen under Abbas’s rule, and he will disappear in the pages of history without leaving a significant mark. But what will the future bring?

If Abbas tries to build a natural heir to take his place, then Faraj’s chances are higher for getting the post, and he would be received with open arms by the government in Washington. But Dahlan, Barghouti, Rajoub, Aloul and Tirawi do not intend to sit idle and watch the regime being taken from them.

Possible scenarios for what comes after Abbas range from a murderous gang war that continues until one group gains an advantage over its adversaries, to an arrangement that distributes power and political roles among all the candidates – much like how drug barons operated in South America in the 1980s. Another possibility is that Hamas takes control of the government institutions in the West Bank as a result of disorder and lack leadership. That is what Hamas is building on today.

Whatever happens, it is highly unlikely there will be any real change in the PA leadership as long as Abbas is still in office. Abbas is likely to continue standing like a solid wall in the way of any American peace initiative.

We can only hope that the PA’s next leader will show courage and leadership. Let us hope that whoever emerges from the ruins of the struggle will succeed in leading to change in the Palestinians’ approach to a realistic political settlement that Israel will also be able to live with, devoid of unreasonable national fantasies and aspirations.

The writer is a former brigadier-general who served as a division head in the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

Translated by Juliane Helmhold





Jerusalem Post  Arab-Israeli Conflict

ABBAS: TRUMP OFFERED US PEACE PLAN BASED ON CONFEDERATION WITH JORDAN

https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Abbas-Trump-offered-us-peace-plan-based-on-confederation-with-Jordan-566330





DUTERTE ARRIVES, THOUGH NOT ALL ARE THRILLED HE’S HERE

https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Duterte-arrives-though-not-all-thrilled-hes-here-566340

Duterte is known primarily for a ruthless war on drugs in his country - with critics saying the government has executed thousands of people - and for a series of undiplomatic quotes.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrived in Israel on Sunday, where a senior Likud MK recommended taking an anti-nausea pill to stomach the visit, the opposition leader said the trip should be kept “low profile,” and a protest is planned for his meeting Tuesday with President Reuven Rivlin.

The controversial Duterte is known primarily for a ruthless war on drugs in his country – with critics saying the government has executed thousands of people – and for a series of undiplomatic quotes, including one Thursday when he said that rape will continue as long as there are more beautiful women.

It would have been more comfortable to receive a president here who had not made the kinds of comments we have heard, and it might be that we have to take a pill against nausea to receive him. In any event he is here, and we cannot ignore it,” Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter said on Kan Bet radio.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) called Duterte a “very problematic person," and said in a radio interview that the four-day visit should be “very low profile.”

And Tag Meir, an NGO that defines its mission as battling racism and supporting democratic values, is organizing the protest against Duterte.

The group, which sent a letter to Rivlin asking him not to meet Duterte, said the president of the Philippines is a “racist and antisemite who is suspected of murder and other grave crimes.” The group said that its calls to Rivlin “not to meet this man or give his acts or statements legitimacy went unanswered.”

Since taking office in June 2016, Duterte has taken 16 trips abroad, including three visits to China, two to Japan and Singapore, and visits to India, Peru, Russia, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

Duterte began his four-day visit here Sunday evening with a speech at a Jerusalem hall attended by hundreds of the estimated 28,000 Filipinos working in the country, some 24,000 of them believed to be working in the care professions.

The president, at the airport in Manila before setting off, said concern for their welfare and for the welfare of Filipino workers in Jordan – where he will visit on Wednesday – was a major reason for his visit.

“We have about 28,000 Filipinos [in Israel] and 48,000 in Jordan. Without mentioning anything, there is a volatile situation – and we have to be sure our citizens are fully protected,” he said.

Duterte, who said the Philippines supports a two-state solution, added: “With more than two million Filipinos working in that region [the Middle East], I intend to emphasize the great importance that the Philippines attaches to maintaining peace and stability there.”

This will be the first ever visit to Israel and Jordan by a Philippine president, and Duterte said they are “landmark visits that underscore our vision for our country – a responsible member of the world community – a Philippines that is a friend to all and an enemy to no one.”

He said he wanted to have a “robust relationship” with Israel in a number of fields, including defense and security, law enforcement, economic development, trade and investment.

The Manila Times reported that Duterte is considering buying equipment from Israel for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go said the head of the coast guard and other PCG officials will be among the 400-person delegation Duterte is bringing to Israel. He said the government has allocated the equivalent of $56 million for new equipment – such as ships, patrol boats and weaponry.

Israel began selling military equipment to the Philippines, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2015 – a year before Duterte took office – when it sold $6 million worth of weapons to the southeast Asian country. That number dropped to $4m. in 2016, but went up to $21m. in 2017.

In addition to defense issues, The Manila Bulletin reported last week that the Israeli firm Ratio Oil Exploration Ltd. is expected to sign an oil exploration deal for a license in Philippine waters.

Ratio Oil Exploration holds a 15% share in the Leviathan gas field off of Israel’s coast, and has a number of licenses for exploration in other areas of the world. The deal with the Philippines has been in the works for some three years, and is awaiting a green light from Duterte.

Duterte is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, followed by a visit to Yad Vashem.

In 2016, Duterte caused outrage when he compared his war against drugs to Hitler’s war against the Jews. He quickly apologized for that comment in a speech at a Manila synagogue, saying he did not mean to dishonor the memory of the Jews killed in the Holocaust, noting that his first wife of 25 years, Elizabeth Zimmerman, is a Jewish American.

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