ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Dumping Abbas and Dahlan

Dumping Abbas and Dahlan

29 August 2003

By Yisrael Ne’eman

Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat seems intent on replacing his prime minister Mahmoud Abbas with the speaker of the Palestinian Parliament Abu Ayla who is considered a close confident of his.  In addition he is looking to oust Security Minister Mohammed Dahlan to make way for Jabril Rajoub (see yesterday’s article).

According to Palestinian sources he has enough support in Parliament for a vote of “no confidence” to oust Abbas and reappoint a cabinet.  The US and Israel have threatened an end to the Bush Road Map should Abbas be dumped.  The question is whether Arafat wants the Road Map or not.

Having rejected the “two-state solution” there is no reason for him to feel threatened.  The Road Map is only a tactical formula to obtain the strategic aim of Palestinian and Jewish states existing side by side thereby hopefully putting an end to the Middle East conflict. 

In the meantime the Parliament vote has been postponed until Thursday.  Apparently not everyone in Arafat’s power elite is willing to suffer the consequences of a head on collision with the Americans.  The Palestinians would like some tactical maneuvering space, their optimum being to dump Abbas and Dahlan while declaring their commitment to a two state solution.  Arafat & Co. would like to say  “No” to the Americans but have it sound like “Yes”.

In any event Abbas and Dahlan will not confront terrorism and are an enormous disappointment to both Washington and Jerusalem.  In addition their challenge to Arafat has made them very unpopular in the Palestinian street.  For sure they will be forced out sooner or later.

It may be best for Israel and the US to stop dealing in pretenses and let Arafat boldly destroy whatever is left of the supposed peace process.  Abbas and Dahlan are only straw men whose time has come to be scattered to the winds.  They did not stop terrorism and therefore were not able to advance the peace process.  The US (and hopefully Europe) would do best to give Israel a free hand in destroying Arafat and his terrorist collaborators.

Maybe then a new Palestinian leadership could arise no longer fearful of imposing law and order nor of implementing a “two-state solution”.