Foreign Policy Blogs

Response to recent NYT op-ed by PA President Abbas

Below is a link to an insightful response by American Jewish Commitee’s David Harris to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recent New York Times op-ed on the future of Palestinian statehood.
Unlike Harris, I was actually ambivalent about the path to Palestinian statehood via the UN. However, the hostile tone and distorted narrative of the recent NYT op-ed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was really surprising to me. Some might argue that I am naive and that Abbas has been delivering this message to the Arab world all along. Even if this is true, I would have expected Abbas to adopt a conciliatory attitude in a NYT article. Instead, Abbas sounds like a man who feels emboldened by the Arab spring and UN campaign and is itching to play his stronger hand. In the wake of the announcement of the Fatah-Hamas unity agreement, the US (and Israel, despite Netanyahu’s categorical dismissal) has been waiting anxiously for some sort of coherent mission statement to emerge from the vague and contradictory soundbytes of Hamas and Fatah leaders. The most optimistic explanation is that Abbas is merely pandering to his new partners, or is momentarily lashing out at Netanyahyu for his instransigence vis-a-vis the settlement freeze. Unfortunately, these explanations seem particularly farfetched in light of the recent reports that Salam Fayyad will not be leading the new regime. If this is the official stance we can expect from the Palestinian coalition, then the peace seems more remote than ever, and it is difficult to see how Obama’s upcoming speech can jumpstart this moribund process.
 

Author

Zev Wexler

Zev Wexler is an associate at the law firm of Vinson & Elkins LLP, where he represents investment managers. In 2009, he took a sabbatical year and volunteered as a strategic consultant in Malawi for Millennium Promise, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Zev is a board member of American Jewish Committee's ACCESS young leadership program, and serves on the Committee's International Relations Commission. Zev is also a board member of the Microfinance Club of New York. Prior to working at Vinson & Elkins LLP, Zev worked at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, and at the asset manager BlackRock Financial Management. He received a BA in Public Policy from Princeton University and a JD from New York University School of Law, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Zev currently lives in New York.

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