Forward Thinking

What Would Israel Do Without Mahmoud Abbas?

By Nathan Jeffay

  • Print
  • Share Share
getty images
Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called Israel’s President Shimon Peres to offer him Rosh Hashanah greetings.

“Happy holiday and a Happy New Year to you and the entire Israeli nation,” Abbas said.. Well, perhaps he meant all of Israel with one exception.

At the same time as the phone call from Ramallah came in at Peres’ residence, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman had his team working on his attempt at character assassination of Abbas.

Last month, Liberman wrote to the Mideast Quartet, which consists of America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, asking it to insist that long-overdue Palestinian general elections are held, which could lead to the end of the presidency of Abbas.

Liberman has described Abbas as an “obstacle to peace” and vowed to promote his view on Abbas with more force over the coming weeks, which is exactly what he’s doing.

This week, Liberman called Abbas a “liar, coward and wimp” who should quit. Abbas is headed to the same fate as other “rotten regimes” in the Arab world, the controversial minister said, referring to the recent violent demonstrations protesting the Palestinian economic crisis.

But beyond this undiplomatic rhetoric, Liberman said something on which he needs to elaborate if he’s wants to be considered a credible political voice.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided this week to advance Abbas’ Palestinian Authority $65 million in tax revenues which Israel collects for it. He said it was in Israel and the PA’s “joint interest,” meaning that Israel doesn’t want a collapsing PA.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Liberman was against Netanyahu’s assistance and said that Israel shouldn’t be concerned by the possibility of the economic collapse of the PA. He simply takes the view that it isn’t Israel’s concern. But if the PA collapses economically it will cease to exist, and if it ceases to exist then Israel will become directly responsible for all the West Bank’s Palestinians as it was in the pre-PA days, which would be a logistical, financial, security and PR nightmare for Israel.

Much of the Israeli political establishment shares Liberman’s misgivings about the Palestinian Authority, but when he makes statements like this, they are left aghast. Lieberman can’t live with Abbas, but most Israeli insiders think Israel can’t live without him.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: palestinians, israel, mahmoud abbas, avigdor liberman, rosh hashanah

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "Selma. Nearly 50 years ago it was violent Selma, impossibly racist Selma, site of Bloody Sunday, when peaceful civil rights marchers made their first attempt to cross the Pettus Street Bridge on the way to the state capitol in Montgomery, Alabama." http://jd.fo/r50mf With the 50th anniversary approaching next spring, a new coalition is bringing together blacks, Jews and others for progressive change.
  • Kosovo's centuries-old Jewish community is down to a few dozen. In a nation where the population is 90% Muslim, they are proud their past — and wonder why Israel won't recognize their state. http://jd.fo/h4wK0
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.