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'Palestinian Authority Will Collapse Without Abbas': Expert Says It's Headed for a Breakdown

02-16-2018
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Palestinian Scarf, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff
Palestinian Scarf, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

JERUSALEM, Israel – President Trump's decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital has sent shockwaves through the Middle East peace process. The Palestinians have stopped talking to the US and questions surround their long-time leader Mahmoud Abbas.  

What does this mean for the pursuit of a Palestinian state?

Abbas is 82. He's currently in his 13th year as president – a role that was intended to last only four years.

Whether by elections or retirement his reign will eventually end. And that raises a major question. What will happen to the Palestinian Authority when Abbas is no longer in office?


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Photo, TPS, Ehud Amiton

"Many think that the whole thing will actually collapse because the Palestinian idea is actually a house made of cards," said Arab Affairs expert  IDF Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar from the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

Kedar believes that could happen within two weeks of an Abbas' departure. Why?  He says it's because the Palestinian plan is based on pipe dreams.

"Jerusalem will be theirs; that their refugees will come back; that Israel will allow it; that they will have a full state – although it can turn into a terror state as is happening in Gaza – that the whole world will support them – and these are all dreams," Kedar told CBN News.

According to Kedar, President Trump tore down two parts of their foundation.

"Trump, actually, took two very important cards pulled out from this building – the Jerusalem card and the refugees by not sponsoring UNWRA anymore, or partially, in order to solve the problem rather than perpetuate it," he said.

The US Congress may pull out another card.

Legislation called the Taylor Force Act could potentially stop hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars going to the P.A. That's because the P.A. rewards convicted terrorists who murder and attack Israelis.
 
Even if the Palestinian Authority were to remain intact, there are other road blocks to peace. The discord between Abbas' Fatah faction and Hamas, which rules Gaza continues. Then there's the stated goal of the Palestinian National Movement. Kedar says the goal of the movement is shown on the scarf that Palestinians carry with them to demonstrations. It's made with the colors of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flag – red, white, green and black – now the Palestinian flag.

"On one side, they show Al Quds Lana. It means "Jerusalem is ours," although Jerusalem was never any capital of any Arab or Islamic country," he said.  "The other side, it's [a map of] Palestine."

And a close look reveals the map of Palestine is actually a map encompassing all of Israel.  

Kedar says the current concept of a Palestinian state would also cause problems.
That's because a number of so-called nations don't work well in this region. The Middle East is really a series of tribes, clans and different religious factions. So is it possible to have peace?

"The only solution, therefore, is to emulate the emirate solution because the only countries in the world – in the Arab world – which are successful are the Emirates in the Gulf… Why? Because every Emirate is one single tribe," Kedar explained.

In this model each Palestinian city would have its own tribe governing it and they'd be linked together as a federation.

"And when you have the society consolidated because it's one single tribe, the state is normal. The state is accepted and the state and the tribe (are) actually two sides of the same coin," he added.
 
So, what advice would Kedar offer President Trump and his peace team?

"I would try to convince President Trump and his crew to learn about the Middle East because if you don't know about the culture of the Middle East, the chance that you miss is 100 percent," he said.

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