Mahmoud Abbas is at it again. Although even President Bill Clinton complained more than 25 years ago that the Palestinians scuttled their negotiations with Israel on his watch, last week Abbas continued to blow his signature smoke about how Israel’s proposed new construction in Judea and Samaria will continue to thwart an agreement on “a two state solution.” Yet not only have the Palestinians proven in the past to being notoriously recalcitrant at the negotiating table, Abbas has yet to meet the ineluctable preconditions necessary for moving forward towards any negotiated resolution of the Israel/Palestinian conflict.

With exactly whom would Israel make a deal? And how would one expect any agreement to be honored by the Palestinians? Abbas has not permitted Palestinian elections and is now in the 17th year in office although he was elected to a four-year term in 2005. So who officially represents the Palestinians? And of course, when it comes to who has control over the territory he claims for a Palestinian state, he controls nothing in Gaza and his hold over the lands in Judea and Samaria that the PA administers is only made possible by Israel’s keeping Hamas at bay.


Nor has Abbas undertaken to break it to the Palestinian street that in the real world, if not in their fictive reality, there are significant consequences to Israel’s coming out way ahead in 1967 and that they had better accept that their wish list is a pipe dream and get with the program. Of course, maybe he hasn’t done so because he also remains unconvinced.

And of course Abbas neglects to mention in his narrative that Israel is also simultaneously authorizing the construction of more than 1,300 Palestinian units in Judea and Samaria – something we don’t like but which is certainly relevant to his criticisms about new Israeli construction.

Abbas also renewed his call for President Biden to reopen the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, which was shut down when President Trump moved the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And here his duplicity is also readily apparent.

After the Embassy was relocated, a special department was set up to handle the consular needs of Palestinians. So what purpose would be served by reopening the old consulate? What purpose indeed! The consulate had become identified with Palestinian interests and was a de facto American embassy for them and, in their telling, an indication of U.S. support for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. And the Palestinians could hardly plausibly argue that a consulate located in the official US Embassy in Jerusalem was also an embassy dedicated to them.

So Abbas’s motive is transparent and, by the way, would be inconsistent with the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act, which declares Jerusalem as the “undivided capital” of Israel and confirmed by a similar declaration by President Trump in 2017.

But perhaps the most revealing indication of what Abbas is up to was his call last week that the West must apologize for and rescind the 1917 Balfour Declaration – issued by the British government and ratified by the international community at the San Remo Conference in 1920 – which committed to the establishment of a Jewish state in the Middle East.


And this is what the official Palestinian Authority daily newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida had to say about Balfour last week as well:

Today, after 104 years, the world is still incapable of correcting this historical mistake and this severe injustice by putting an end to the colonialist Zionist project…After 104 years the conflict is still continuing, and it will not stop until this promise ad its consequences are canceled.

So we suggest that President Biden take with grain of salt all the claims that come from the mouth of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The latter’s crocodile tears over Israeli construction should be seen as the irrelevancies they clearly are. Interestingly, while the State Department was critical of the Israeli construction plan, it used the word “disappointed” in the course of doing so. And that is the phraseology Russian Premier Vladimir Putin used as well.

And further, regarding a reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, consider this exchange between Sen. Bill Hagerty of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Deputy Secretary of State Brian McKeon:

Sen. Hagerty: I just want to confirm something, on the record – is it your understanding that under U.S. and international law the government of Israel would have to provide its affirmative consent before the United States could open or reopen the consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem? Or does the Biden administration believe it can move forward to establish a second U.S. mission in the Israel capital city of Jerusalem without the consent of the government in Israel?

            Deputy McKeon: Senator, that’s my understanding – that we need the consent of the host government to open any diplomatic facility.

So maybe the world is finally waking up to reality which would be all to the good. It would be a shame to undermine even in the slightest Israel’s potential for transforming the Middle East in its own and America’s best interests.

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