October 1, 2014 began the 100 day-countdown to a peculiar anniversary on the world stage. January 10, 2015, is the tenth anniversary of Mahmoud Abbas winning a four-year term as President – and then never leaving.
Abbas’s first four years (while actually sitting and ruling) watched him lose all control of the territories he was supposed to govern:
One year after his election, in 2006, his Fatah party was trounced in governmental elections. The rival Hamas party took 58% of the 132 seats in parliament. A year later, in 2007, Hamas evicted Fatah from the Gaza Strip. Abbas and Fatah have had virtually no presence there since then. Abbas showed no ability and/or willingness to stop missile attacks from Gaza into Israel (1777, 2807 and 3716 projectiles in 2006, 2007 and 2008, respectively). Those rockets killed 12 people and injured 1500. In 2008, Israel finally took action. Abbas complained about Israel’s action even though he was then elected leader of the territories that did nothing to halt the attacks.
No matter. The world seemed to love this “moderate” leader. After his term expired in January 2009, no new elections were held.
For six years, the world has continued to pretend that Abbas had any legitimacy as an elected leader. For six years, the world ignored the will of the Palestinian people who had repeatedly shown in every poll, their preference to elect Hamas, a rabidly anti-Semitic rival party to Abbas’s Fatah party. The world has been complicit in holding up elections which would confirm that there is no possibility for peace at this time. For six years Abbas did nothing to deliver peace. Rocket fire from Gaza only slowed down because of Israel’s 2008 Operation Cast Lead (858, 365 and 680 projectiles fired from Gaza at Israel in 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively). When missiles jumped to 2273 in 2012, Israel needed to step in for Abbas’s failure, with Operation Pillar of Defense. Rocket fire dropped 95% in 2013 after the Israeli action. However, missile fire, the murders of teenagers and terror tunnels into Israel brought Israel to “quiet” the situation with Operation Protective Edge in 2014 – again, due to Abbas’s either failure or unwillingness to provide security for Israel and Gaza. For six years, the world has pushed Israel to sit and negotiate with Abbas, the straw man with neither legitimacy nor power to deliver peace. The United Nations gave Abbas the main podium to address the General Assembly, even though he was simply an acting-President for a non-country. He used those opportunities to repeatedly lie about Israel, lie about Jews in the Holy Land and lie about his performance. And why not? The world actively engaged in the charade.
Perhaps the United Nations would like to produce a 10th anniversary stamp to honor the accomplishment of holding onto a four-year presidential title for so many years, in the face of a public that does not want him. Perhaps a fitting image would be a combination of the UN’s 1981 Palestinian stamp, together with a scarecrow: the inalienable right to be a Palestinian President.