Abbas's Blunder?

Debkafile is reporting in their headlines box that Mahmoud Abbas has submitted a draft resolution to the Algiers Arab conference starting today. The resolution ostensibly calls for Israel to withdraw completely to the 1949 armistice line, and then to accept an armistice with the Palestinians, and not a permanent peace.

Absent further confirmation, I am skeptical. Such a move would be monumentally stupid, even by PLO standards. It violates a central rule of Palestinian diplomacy: never put anything on paper. Yassir Arafat would make similar statements all the time, but always in speeches, never in writing (IIRC). That allowed the deluded Left to claim that he was only throwing red meat to his base, and "wasn't being serious." On the other hand, if Abbas were to seriously present this as his demands for negotiation, as opposed to simply stonewalling and obfuscating as per Arafat, he would be dooming any chance for an agreement, ever.

Perhaps that would be what he has in mind, but I doubt it. What alternative does Abbas have, other than negotiation?

That said, I can imagine a few scenarios to explain this:

1. Debkafile is wrong.

2. The resolution will never proceed past the draft stage, and is meant to placate the rebellion in the al-Aqsa Brigades without doing anything substantial.

3. The resolution will be publicized, becuase Abbas has no choice and is in danger for his life or political standing. This would be intended as a distress call to America and Sharon.

4. The resolution will be publicized, because Abbas is trying to pull an Arafat and isn't clever enough to do it right.

5. The resolution will be publicized, in order to trigger a massive backlash in Israel against Ariel Sharon for making so many concessions to such an obviously faithless "partner." Sharon's government will fall, and in the resulting chaos Abbas hopes to consolidate his power somehow. The major problem I see with such a strategy is that the next Prime Minister would make Sharon look like Yossi Beilin.

The most likely explanation? Debkafile is wrong. If not, then things are a lot uglier than I thought.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I heard a report today that the leaders of the Arab League have declared that they should not normalize relations (despite a Jordanian motion to the contrary) with Israel until Israel substansively gives up land outside the green line to the Palestinian state. Is this the starting shot of Abbas' proposal?