Abbas is acting like a paranoid schizophrenic while Hamas sits back and laughs. In my previous article, I outlined Palestinian authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’ paranoid behavior with regards to Hamas. But the plot thickens. Since the PA and Hamas’ unity deal in April, it seems as though the tension between the two factions is only increasing. Besides taking out a Jordanian passport and whisking his entire family (including grandchildren) to his residence in Jordan, Abbas’ Palestinian envoy also condemned Hamas war crimes to the UN during its summer war against Israel. In fact, the Palestinian delegate to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Ibrahim Khreisheh has even admitted that Hamas is committing war crimes by firing rockets into Israel. Is he crazy? Criticizing fellow palestinians while they’re fighting the Zionist entity? Didn’t he get the memo that Israel is the enemy? (Later in this article, you will see why it was actually a very calculated move on his part.)
In case that wasn’t enough, Abbas ‘told on’ them to the emir of Qatar citing an attempted coup on his government and an assassination attempt on his life. Why would he act this way with an organization he just signed a unity pact with? The reason is because Abbas is planning to seek political asylum in Jordan and Hamas plotting against him provides Abbas with the perfect alibi.
Originally, forming a unity deal with Hamas was Abbas’ way of placating Hamas conspiring against him. But Abbas underestimated Hamas’ appetite for power and is now feeling the brunt of Hamas opportunism as the future of his tenure of power looms. Abbas realizes that as long as he is in power, Hamas will share a conflict of interest. This is unsettling for the PA leader. So once he learned that placating Hamas by joining forces didn’t work, he resorted to plan B; tattletale on them to their financial backers in Qatar assuming it’ll get them to back off. Although clever, the ploy backfired when the Qatari emir challenged Abbas on his accusations and Abbas reflexively brushed them off.
Now Abbas has resorted to plan C; arresting Hamas activists in Judea and Samaria. Jerusalem Posts’ Khaled Abu Toameh tweeted that protests erupted near Bethlehem when Abbas arrested pro-Hamas poet Mahmud Ayyad. The drama doesn’t end there. Abbas called Hamas the ‘real enemy’ accusing them of killing one hundred and twenty youths for not abiding by a curfew. Hamas in the meantime is playing it cool telling their supporters in the West Bank to resist any summons from the PA and that they will not respond to Abbas’ “polymics”. This makes Hamas look secure and Abbas like a paranoid chicken with his head cut off. Barely four months have passed since the PA/Hamas unity deal was signed and Abbas is already ending it, silencing and arresting Hamas activists. This will certainly provide Hamas with even more sympathy from the Arab street which doesn’t play well for Abbas whose popularity has plummeted since the Israel/Hamas war in Gaza this past summer. Currently, Hamas’ popularity in Judea and Samaria has jumped to 66%. Arresting Hamas activists will probably only increase their popularity, but Abbas doesn’t really have a choice. If he doesn’t suppress Hamasism on his home turf, it is only a matter of time before Hamas leads a coup and throws him off the roof as they did to his agents in Gaza or ask him politely to seek political asylum elsewhere. This could also be a viable development. Abbas and Hamas could be colluding staging a (self imposed) coup against Abbas that provides the PA chairman with the perfect opportunity to seek asylum in Amman. This way Abbas can live happily ever after in Jordan without owing anyone any explanation, and Hamas gets to take his place in Ramallah-win win.
The other option is that they’re not colluding and Abbas truly feels his days as king are numbered. He sent his entire family, including his grandchildren off to his residence in Jordan. It’s hard to imagine what Abbas has left for himself in Ramallah. Whether or not all of his accusations against Hamas are true, one thing is for sure. Abbas is acting unstable and is looking for a way out (whether its genuine or not). Hamas is patiently waiting for Abbas to either suffer a stress induced heart attack or flee to Jordan. But if there’s one thing preventing the PA chairman from packing his billions of dollars and living happily ever after in Jordan it would be- Jordan.
The notion of Abbas fleeing to Jordan and Hamas taking over doesn’t sit well with the Hashemite Kingdom. And the timing couldn’t be worse as ISIS is gathered on Jordan’s eastern border, the last thing they need is a radical Iran backed Shiite organization like Hamas on their western front. King Abdullah won’t be fooled into making a deal with the devil like Abbas was. The only foreseeable way Jordan will allow Abbas to seek refuge in the Hashemite Kingdom is if they know that they will not suffer from hostile elements on their western border. In other words, Jordan will likely accept Abbas’ application for political asylum if they know that Israel will fill the vacuum of power in Judea and Samaria and not Hamas. Which answers my original question; why would Abbas and the Palestinian Authority dare criticize Hamas and call out their war crimes in front of the UN during the war this past summer with Israel? Surely it would cause Abbas to lose points on the Arab street. It seems as though Abbas was secretly rooting for Israel and was offering Israel thinly veiled hints that Abbas was giving Israel his full backing in toppling Hamas. This is because if Israel could prove that they were willing to defeat Hamas, Abbas could justify his fleeing to the Hashemites and finally live happily ever after in Jordan knowing that Israel wouldn’t let Hamas takeover in the West Bank. Based on the war’s outcome, it’s not so obvious. Abbas risked it all and Israel didn’t get the message.
If Abbas flees and Hamas fills the vacuum of power, they’ll receive a hero’s welcome from the Muslims in the West Bank. At that point, hopefully the two state solution facade will finally be exposed for the farce it is and Israel will regain the territory through force.