Doha-A private meeting between PA president Mahmoud Abbas and Qatari Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad revealed that Hamas “tried to assassinate Abbas in 2006”.
The meeting also exposed in a document that was published by the Syrian/Hezbollah affiliated Al-Akhbar daily which quoted PA president Mahmoud Abbas presenting the Qatari ruler with an ultimatum stating that Israel and the US have agreed in writing to the formation of a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 armistice lines with Jerusalem as its capital, and can then demarcate the borders within a set time-frame. If Israel doesn’t comply Abbas continued, the PA will freeze its security coordination with Israel and “ask Israel to reclaim responsibility for the West Bank as an occupying state.”
The leaked document reveals that Mahmoud Abbas is ready to defer control of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) to Israel if his Palestinian state bid doesn’t come to fruition. Abbas is well aware that the option of a Palestinian state based on the ‘67 armistice lines including Jerusalem is the less likely option. He knows this because that was pretty much exactly what then Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert offered Abbas in 2008 which even included sovereignty over the Temple Mount! To Olmert’s surprise, Abbas balked at the proposal. From this, one can conclude that Israel retaking control of Judea and Samaria is Abbas’ preferred option than is the two state ‘solution’. And for good reason.
The leaked meeting with the Qatari ruler revealed something else. Mahmoud Abbas is running scared. And he should be. During the meeting, Abbas admitted to being tipped off by Israeli Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen of an assassination attempt by Hamas. The plot coincides with evidence obtained by Palestinian intelligence of a recording of Hamas men planting a roadside bomb next to his convoy. (I wonder how it’ll look now that Abbas admitted to collaborating with Israeli intelligence). “In 2006 they planted explosives on the road. They wanted to blow me up. They also dug a tunnel under my home in Gaza. Here is a CD with everything taped,” Abbas was reported as saying. “You can hear them saying, ‘This mine is for [Abbas]‘.” In an attempt at reconciliation the Qatari leader responded by suggesting that Abbas either put the alleged plot behind him, or establish an independent investigation to the “suspect Israeli plot”. Hamas agreed, Abbas refused the offer.
Abbas’ paranoid behavior can be traced back to 2011 when he obtained Jordanian passports for himself and his family. Then in July, the Jerusalem Post reported that the PA president secretly whisked his family off to their residence in Jordan including his grandchildren. This is not exactly typical conduct for an aspiring statesman.
Although we don’t know for sure if the assassination attempt really happened or not, what we do know is that the leaked documents reveal that Abbas is living in paranoid state of fear. He feels that he is stuck between a rock and a hard place. And if he believes that Hamas is out to get him, he certainly is.
Hamas support in Judea and Samaria is on the rise. Following Israel’s latest war in Gaza, polls conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research concluded that 61% of Palestinians would prefer Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh for president if Palestinian presidential elections were held today. A mere 32% would vote for current President Mahmoud Abbas.
Rising popularity for Hamas in Abbas’ turf doesn’t play well for the PA president. On the one hand, if he negotiates with Israel, he’ll probably be seen as a collaborator increasing his chances of being killed by Hamas. On the other hand, if he establishes a Palestinian State, Israel won’t have a military presence to protect him (increasing his chances of being killed by Hamas).
It appears as though Abbas has two options for survival. Either he continue to do nothing,refusing every Israeli and American peace gesture, while simultaneously inciting against Israel. This option seems to have worked for him so far, but with increasing Hamas popularity in his neighborhood, for how long will Abbas agree to live a life of constantly looking over his “marked” shoulder. The other option is to abandon his position of power, pack his billions of dollars and live happily ever after in Jordan leaving a vacuum of power in Judea and Samaria for Israel and Hamas to ‘work things out’.
If Abbas abandons Judea and Samaria both Israel and Hamas will be forced to fill the vacuum of power. As ironic as it may sound, it’s a far better option for Israel than if the PA were to remain. This is because it’s better the devil you know and instead of a phony peace partner who manipulates Israel into self destructive capitulation, Israel’s enemy will be honest about their intentions allowing the Jewish State to beat them at their own game-war.
David Sidman is Shoebat.com’s correspondent in Israel.