Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Showing posts for "Palestinian Authority"

Abbas, Hamas, and NIMBY

by Elliott Abrams

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas was quick to denounce the violence and arson at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. Moreover, he has instructed Palestinian Authority police to prevent a new intifada. But this is the same Abbas who has encouraged violence. He continues to spread the lie that Israel is undermining the Haram al-Sharif or Temple Mount, and said “Al-Aqsa is ours and so is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet.” He has verbally supported violence, reacting to the series of stabbings this way: “Each drop of blood that was spilled in Jerusalem is pure blood as long as it’s for the sake of Allah. Every shahid (martyr) will be in heaven and every wounded person will be rewarded, by Allah’s will.” Read more »

Did Mahmoud Abbas Just Resign?

by Elliott Abrams

There’s a bit of confusion about the recent “resignation” of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. What actually happened?

Abbas wears three hats, as his predecessor and mentor Yasser Arafat did: head of the Fatah Party, president of the Palestinian Authority, and chairman of the PLO. Abbas just organized the resignation of ten members of the PLO Executive Committee, including himself, and he resigned as its chairman. The purpose is not to walk away, go home, and retire, but to force a meeting of the PLO’s “legislative body,” the Palestine National Council, to elect a new Executive Committee. This will allow Abbas to push off the Committee individuals whom he doesn’t like or who are political opponents of his. Read more »

Europe Goes Back to the “Peace Process”

by Elliott Abrams

Syria is coming apart and there are millions of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. ISIS threatens Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq– which is also coming apart. The new Iran nuclear deal would deliver $150 billion in cash to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the removal of sanctions will bring even more money to the Revolutionary Guards. ISIS and other jihadis are increasingly active in Sinai. Hamas has a firm grip on Gaza. Read more »

IMF Realism About the West Bank and Gaza

by Elliott Abrams

In the aftermath of the last round of conflict between Israel and Hamas, in the summer of 2014, many donors made big pledges of aid for Gaza at a special conference in Cairo. And many haven’t paid up.

This is one conclusion that emerges in the newest IMF report on the Palestinian economy, dated May 18, 2015. It is a report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, the donor group that meets to coordinate aid. In the report the IMF decries “shortfalls in donor aid relative to Cairo pledges.” The IMF notes that “the reconstruction process in Gaza is moving far more slowly than expected,” and one big reason is “unfilled donor pledges.” Because the United States has met its pledges, it seems likely that the unmet pledges are from Arab donors—or to be more precise, from Arab non-donors. Read more »

The Omnibus Appropriations Bill and Payments for Terrorists

by Elliott Abrams

The Omnibus Appropriations bill recently passed by Congress contains an interesting provision regarding the support for terrorists and their families by the Palestinian Authority:

The Secretary of State shall reduce the amount of assistance made available by this Act under the heading “Economic Support Fund” for the West Bank and Gaza by an amount the Secretary determines is equivalent to that expended by the Palestinian Authority in payments to individuals and the families of such individuals that are imprisoned for acts of terrorism or who died committing such acts during the previous calendar year. Read more »

Gaza at Year End

by Elliott Abrams

At the end of last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas, all sorts of pledges were made about rebuilding Gaza. Hamas in particular claimed victory because it had broken the “siege of Gaza” and now all Gazans would benefit.

This was nonsense, and clearly so back then. It was obvious from previous experience that goods would not flow easily into Hamas-controlled territory, especially with Egypt smashing the network of smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Sinai. Read more »