Abbas is not interested in reaching any deal with Israel: he knows that such a move would require him to make concessions. Abbas knows that Israel will never give him 100% of his demands; that is enough for him to refuse to sign any historic agreement. Like Arafat, Abbas does not want to go down into history as the first Palestinian leader to make concessions, especially on sensitive issues such as refugees and Jerusalem.
In March last year, thousands of Palestinians, inspired by the "Arab Spring," launched their own protests in the West Bank to demand reforms, democracy, and regime change. But the Palestinian revolt was short-lived. Abbas's security forces, backed by Fatah thugs, attacked the young men and women who were protesting in the center of Ramallah, torching their tents and beating them with clubs and rifle butts.
Like many Arab countries, Lebanon has always been treating Palestinians as third-class citizens. Nearly half a million Palestinians live in Lebanon's 12 camps. Though born and raised in the country, they are denied political, economic and social rights.
In the short term, the Palestinian Authority may succeed in restoring law and order to areas under its control in the West Bank. But in the long term, its current clampdown will increase bitterness and frustration among a large number of Fatah gunmen and security officers who feel betrayed by Abbas.
Any land that is handed over to the Palestinian Authority would end up in the hands of Hamas.
The Palestinians have been radicalized to a point where it is almost impossible to talk about peace and coexistence with Israel. For Palestinians, the true heroes are suicide bombers who blew themselves up in cafes and buses, killing innocent civilians. Peace activists, human rights advocates, moderates, journalists and reformers have almost no say and are often denounced as "traitors" and a "fifth column."
Today, most of the anti-regime demonstrations throughout the kingdom are being initiated and led by Muslim Brotherhood supporters whose goal is to turn Jordan into an Islamic republic. Many Arabs feel that President Barack Obama's endorsement of the Muslim Brotherhood has emboldened the Islamists and increased their appetite to drive moderate and secular rulers out of the Arab world.
In many ways, the status quo seems convenient for Fatah and Hamas. Fatah has a mini-state in the West Bank and is benefiting from hundreds of millions of dollars that are poured by international donors on Salam Fayyad's government. Hamas, for its part, is happy that it has exclusive control over the entire Gaza Strip, which has been turned into an independent Islamic emirate.
Try $100 million.
At a time when many Western governments, the World Bank, and various international organizations are continuing to heap praise on the Palestinian Authority for implementing reforms, the deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament, Hasan Khreishah, announced that financial and administrative corruption was now more widespread than ever.
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate wants Palestinian journalists to serve as soldiers on behalf of the Palestinian cause. Journalists, according to the syndicate, should first and foremost be loyal to their president, prime minister, government, homeland, and cause. As for the truth, it appears at the bottom of the syndicate's list of priorities.
If the Western journalists and donors continue to ignore the reality on the ground, the West Bank could soon fall into the hands of gangsters and armed clans, as has been the case in Jenin -- among the main reasons the Palestinian Authority collapsed in the Gaza Strip in 2007, speeding the rise of Hamas to power.
As far as most Palestinians are concerned, the "friend of my enemy is my enemy." Palestinians hate the US because of its continued support for Israel. The Palestinians want the US to endorse all their demands and force Israel to give them everything. As one of the leaders of a recent anti-US demonstration explained, "The US will remain our enemy for as long as it does not fully support the Palestinians."
Instead of going after top officials suspected of embezzling public funds and abusing their powers, the Palestinian Authority government has chosen to wage an unprecedented clampdown on those who dare to raise their voices in support of transparency and freedom of speech.
Anti-Israel messages and campaigns serve only the radicals in this region who do not want either peace or coexistence. The time has come for the emergence of a genuine pro-Palestinian camp in the West that would focus less on Israel and more on helping the Palestinians.
In yet another sign of how the Palestinian Authority is radicalizing Palestinians and eventually dragging them toward another confrontation with Israel, the Palestinian Authority issued an order banning Palestinians from making direct contact with Israeli authorities in the West Bank on the same day that two Palestinian officials met in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,
More than 1,000 Palestinians who fled the violence in Syria and were hoping to find temporary shelter in Jordan, have been stranded along the border between Syria and Jordan for the past few weeks. The Jordanian authorities have thus far refused to allow them into the kingdom.
Abdel Khalik would have been more fortunate had she been arrested by Israel. Then she would have been depicted by the Western media as a hero and the UN Human Rights Council would have held an emergency session to condemn Israel and call for her immediate release.
Israel can play a role in undermining the radicals among its Arab community. The best way to weaken the radicals is by embracing the Arab citizens rather than alienating them. If Israel does not build a kindergarten or school in Nazareth, someone else will. And in this case, the someone else could be secular extremists or Muslim fundamentalists.
Ahmed Qurei and those who are working to promote the "one-state solution" ignore the facts on the ground: that the Palestinians already have two separate "states" next to Israel - one in the West Bank and the other in Gaza. They also ignore the reality that the two Palestinian entities have been at war with each other since 2007.
Turning Jordan into Palestine would mean the loss of a moderate and rational Arab leader at a time when Islamists are rising to power in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Libya.
In the past, Hamas has proven that when it wants to, it can prevent attacks on Israel. It would be a mistake to allow these governments to have it both ways -- on one hand claiming they are legitimate and sovereign governments, while on the other hand avoiding responsibility for terror attacks.
On March 7, the PA President convened yet another urgent meeting of PLO and Fatah leaders in Ramallah to discuss the content of this "mother of all letters" which he intends to send to Israel. The meeting, which came less than 48 hours after Obama's speech, reflected the increased concern of the Palestinians over the world's fading attention to their problems.
The "Arab Spring" is anything but a "great revolution." It is a spring of massacres, destruction and violence, as Patriarch Beshara al-Rai, the head of Lebanon's Maronite Church, put it. "We are with the Arab Spring but we are not with this spring of violence, war, destruction and killing," he told Reuters. "This is turning to winter. We cannot implement reforms by force and arms. How can it be an Arab Spring when people are being killed every day?"
The presence of Israel physicians in Ramallah drew furious reactions from workers at the Palestine Medical Compound and many Palestinians, including the Western-backed Fatah faction headed by Mahmoud Abbas. The fact that thousands of Palestinian patients receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals each year did not stop their vociferous oppostion.