Mon 06 Nov 2023 4:43 pm - Jerusalem Time

After we weakened Abbas for years, suddenly we want him to rid us of the Gazan mire

Shlomi Eldar

The war in the Gaza Strip has not yet ended. In Israel, it is estimated that this war may last several months before Hamas is brought to its knees. This time, unlike other campaigns carried out by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip, no one is talking about the image of victory. It is unreasonable to achieve victory after “Black Saturday,” even if Yahya Sinwar was arrested and “beheaded.” Even if everyone believed to have succeeded in escaping through the Gaza tunnels, including all members of the movement’s leadership, was “beheaded.” At the military and political levels. Whoever believes this does not know the value of martyrdom among fundamentalist Islam.

After tightening the noose around Hamas' neck, because there is no other way to topple its rule, the "next day" phase will begin. In fact, from now on, before the war ends, there are dialogues between the United States and Israel regarding this day, and they are discovering that they have absolutely no idea who will replace Hamas.

Some people have a fantasy in which the Palestinian Authority forces of Mahmoud Abbas, bestowing their favor on us, will enter the Gaza Strip and restore the authority that was forcefully taken from it in June 2007, in the coup carried out by Hamas. Suddenly, the person Netanyahu describes as a “terrorist,” “supporter of terrorism,” and “encourager of terrorism” has become our dream, and he is the one who will agree to receive the keys to the Gaza Strip, which Israel closed before imposing the siege on the Strip, and then threw the keys away.

Even these days, when we still dream that Abbas is the solution to the Gaza Strip, both Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir are playing the role of heroes, without realizing the difference between the Authority and Hamas, and any prices Israel paid when it preferred Strengthening Hamas and insulting Abbas. These two men always have a solution to the Palestinian issue. After the leaders of the Israeli security system succeeded in “convincing” Finance Minister [Smotrich] that Israel’s interest lies in transferring the authority’s tax funds to it, his strategic friend, Ben Gvir, wrote on the x [Twitter] platform a tweet saying: “This evening I saw news saying The Palestinian Authority threatens us not to receive tax money if Gaza Strip funds are deducted from it... I call on the Authority to stand firm in its opinion and not accept the money.”

Ben Gvir and Smotrich, and even Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman, were not the ones who invented the weapon of stopping the transfer of tax funds to the government. The inventor of this weapon, which we discovered was a double-edged sword, is former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert...

This tax money is not an Israeli grant, but was transferred to the Authority according to an agreement signed between the Authority and Israel on April 29, 1994, in what is called the Paris Agreement, which is a branch of the Oslo II Agreement. According to this agreement, the Palestinian economy is linked to the Israeli economy. While Israel collects taxes related to all goods and raw materials that the Authority imports by air, land, or sea, including the value-added tax, Israel is then committed to transferring the money once a month to the Palestinian Ministry of Finance. More than 60% of the Palestinian Authority's budget comes from tax money. Without this money, the authority will collapse. After Hamas won the parliamentary elections in 2006, Olmert decided to punish Abbas because of the election results, as if the defeat he suffered at that time was not enough, and so, Olmert came to complete the mission...

Then Netanyahu came. The man decided, for internal political reasons, that he must demonize whoever sits in the boycott, because in this way alone he is able to gather the ranks of the Israeli right into his grip, after this right disbanded around him in the 1999 elections, when he lost to Ehud Barak by a large margin...

When Netanyahu returned to power in 2009, he adopted a dual policy. One side of it is to defame Abbas, while at the same time encouraging security coordination between Israel and the authority.

Netanyahu called Mahmoud Abbas the “source of terrorism,” and this nickname spread and succeeded in penetrating even the voters of the left and center movements. There is no one to dialogue with on the Palestinian side. This was the prevailing understanding. This understanding has been cemented in Israeli public opinion. As for the Shin Bet, they closed their mouths. Despite everything, Netanyahu is the prime minister, and they are the men of shadow and silence.

Thus, we now have a strong Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and an authority in the West Bank that is destined to collapse at any moment Israel decides to harass it, or stop transferring tax money...

And now, we have this: Abbas is weak, while Hamas is what we see now: “war criminals.” Thus, after we have weakened Abbas, we still expect him to save us from drowning in the Gazan mire.

One of the old Fatah members, his face wrinkled by wars and disappointments, told me: “Go and tile the sea, you fools.”


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After we weakened Abbas for years, suddenly we want him to rid us of the Gazan mire