Tuesday, January 10, 2023



Mahmoud Abbas was elected on January 9, 2005 to a four year term term as president of the Palestinian Authority, scheduled to end January 15, 2009.

He is about to start the 19th year of his "four year term."

During his time in office, he has not only stopped any possibility of further elections. He also has taken over the legislative and judicial branches of government, changed laws to ensure that his people remain in all leadership roles, and consolidated his hold on Fatah, expelling any potential threats to his power either within his party or within his government. And he remains the head of the PLO, which is the real political leadership of the Palestinians, an organization that the Palestinian Authority reports to. 

He has used the people of Gaza as hostages in his attempts to defeat Hamas there, regularly blocking delivery of medicines and fuel. He has mercilessly jailed and murdered protesters. He has passed laws that make any criticism of him or his cronies into crimes. He has played potential successors against each other.

He's a dictator in every sense of the word, every bit as ruthless as Bashar Assad or Vladimir Putin.

Yet how many Western articles about him mention the word "dictator?" They dance around it, they will sometimes quote a critic or two, but you won't hear the "D" word in mainstream Western media or analysis. 

Arab analysts, on the other hand, have no such qualms. 

The latest comes from an interview of several analysts in (Hamas') Felesteen news site. 
Omar Assaf, a member of the National Democratic Assembly, confirms that Abbas fears losing power, so he prevents anyone from the Fatah movement or other factions from gaining any. 

"Abbas monopolizes the three centers of power; executive, legislative and judicial, and enshrines the one-man rule that was tried in many countries of the world, and its results were disastrous, and the continuation of this situation means further deterioration at all levels," he said. 

The writer and political analyst, Rashid Al-Bably, says that after 18 years of monopolizing the position of the head of power in an unconstitutional manner, and in light of the clear absence of the Legislative Council, Abbas has become the only figure in control of the three authorities, and even increased his power with his leadership of the PLO, the Fatah movement, and other positions.  Ultimately,he is  a dictatorial figure controlling all aspects of all official decisions. 

Activist and political researcher Suhaib Zahda says Abbas constitutes a model of dictatorship and authoritarian rule by refusing to hold general elections and allow the renewal of the leadership. 

"Abbas is using the security services and the outside to continue clinging to the rule and power, refusing to hold any elections, and continuing his work as president illegally."
The article notes a number of times that Abbas postponed the planned elections last year after it became apparent that he would lose. Abbas' excuse that he postponed the elections because it wasn't clear that Jerusalem Arabs could participate is not even considered to be an issue in any Arab media - everyone knows that the issue could have been resolved if there was any political will. 

So why are the Western media and politicians so reluctant to criticize a dictator? There are two, related reasons.

One is that the alternative is probably worse. If elections were held, Hamas would likely win, and no one wants that - Hamas is a designated terror group in the West. 

The other, more compelling reason is that there is a deep narrative of Israeli intransigence embedded in Western discourse. As long as the West can pretend that Abbas is a moderate - the word attached to him in the media far more often than dictator - they can continue to blame Israel for any tensions or lack of peace. If they would admit that Abbas is not a peace partner, Israel's position since the collapse of talks in 2001 is proven to have been correct all along. Moreover, if Hamas wins an election that is forced by the West, no one can blame Israel for there not being a horizon for peace.

The willful blindness of the West about Mahmoud Abbas is meant, above all, to keep alive the fiction that Israel is the obstacle to peace.




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