Mahmoud Abbas once again has grabbed an opportunity to miss an opportunity and has rejected a French-sponsored resolution in the United Nations that would give him a Palestinian Authority state based on the old 1949-1967 borders.
So what is his problem?
The problem is that the French proposal not only recognizes the Palestinian Authority as a country but also recognizes Israel as a Jewish country.
This is not the first time that Abbas has rejected recognizing “the Jewish State of Israel,” but he has never done so in the face of such a golden opportunity to emasculate the country.
Abbas has no problem with Israel as long as it does not exist, and recognizing it as “Jewish” would preclude the dream of the Arab world and UNRWA to transform Jews into a minority in the country by importing a few million Arabs who have been under the U.N. agency’s so-called care for decades.
Israel has lobbied against the French proposal, and the United States has not promised it would veto it.
But it turns out that Abbas will cast the veto, just as he has scotched every other chance for an agreement with Israel for 11 years since being elected to a four-term that expired seven years ago.
The French resolution calls for the principle of “two states for two peoples,” borders as demanded by Abbas, and “compensation:” for UNRWA camp prisoners, called “refugees.”
The resolution sets a limit of 18 months for negotiations to reach a “just, lasting and comprehensive peace, and if the deadline passed, France would recognize the “State of Palestine.”
His rejection of the French resolution got lost in the today’s less significant and befuddled headlines that the Palestinian Authority government is breaking up or is not breaking up, depending on which version you read.
Abbas thrives on three things: money from the European Union, the non-recognition of the Palestinian Authority as a country, and an eternal crisis in his regime that allows him to hold on to power. All three are intertwined.
He was at his best today.