Sunday, September 13, 2020

  • Sunday, September 13, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
I wrote last week how it seems possible that the UAE (and now Bahrain) acceptance of Israel has the potential to severely damage the honor/shame mentality that has reliably guided the Arab world for a very long time. 

I think that the news is vindicating this opinion.

One of the corollaries of the honor/shame system is the refusal to accept win/win solutions, because if your enemy wins, then you lose by definition - and what you lose is honor. 

The New York Times has an article about Mahmoud Abbas' continued refusal to accept tax money that Israel owes the Palestinian Authority - out of a bizarre, misguided sense of honor.

The normalization deal with the U.A.E. was not made in coordination with the Palestinians, who adamantly opposed it. And from the Palestinian perspective, suspending annexation wasn’t enough: They wanted it to be canceled.

As a result, Mr. Abbas has refused to go back to the way things were.

Diplomats who have met with him say that Mr. Abbas is intent on extracting some new concessions from Israel with which to assure the Palestinian public that his rejection of the money, and their summer-long hardship, were not all in vain.

Mr. Abbas’s office and several of his most senior aides all declined to comment.

When the British foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, encouraged Mr. Abbas to take the money in a meeting in Ramallah last week, Mr. Abbas responded, “In return for what?” according to a person familiar with details of the exchange.
He is treating accepting hundreds of millions of dollars as a concession!

This is honor/shame in its purest form - accepting the money is an affront to Abbas' honor, even if that means hurting his own people. 

It is obvious to all that accepting the tax revenue is a win/win  - Israel doesn't want the money and wants a stable Palestinian Authority, and the PA needs to pay salaries and other expenses. 
The European Union, the United Nations, Britain and several Arab countries have all urged the Palestinian Authority to resume accepting the transfers from Israel, according to officials briefed on the talks.
Abbas' bizarre idea of honor is not shared by "several" other Arab countries. They are being practical and want what is best for ordinary Palestinians; Abbas is adamant that honor is more important than his people.

Now, how do you think Arab nations will react to that kind of thinking? A decade ago, they would accept it as a basic requirement to maintain honor. Now they are telling him that some things are more important than honor (or, perhaps, that Abbas' sense of honor is hopelessly skewed.)

The UAE and Bahrain see peace with Israel as a win/win. Mahmoud Abbas sees it as an affront to his honor. 

At any rate, Abbas is not gaining any popularity either with his own people or with other Arabs with his refusal to accept the tax money - because Israel wants to give him the money. 





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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



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