Opinion |

Who’s Afraid of Abbas, Abdullah?

Israel Harel
Israel Harel
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a leadership meeting in Ramallah, May 19, 2020.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a leadership meeting in Ramallah, May 19, 2020.Credit: Alaa Badarneh/Pool via REUTERS
Israel Harel
Israel Harel

This week the High Court of Justice again, as is its wont, supported the prohibition imposed by the police (with the approval of the incoming minister of public security?) on Jews visiting the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day. In Iran, in contrast, they are celebrating its liberation from the talons of the Zionist entity. On his official website, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei declared that “the final solution (to liberating the Mount) is armed resistance.” In an illustration that accompanies the text, Palestinian flags are shown flying over mosques and the city’s walls, with soldiers and civilians celebrating the final solution.

As befits such a negligible event, Israeli media, other than Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth, minimized coverage of this report. In these fateful days, the headlines, appropriately so for bold and unbiased media, dealt with the existential threats we can expect if the Knesset, God forbid, imposes Israeli law on the Jordan Valley and on some communities on the central ridges of the West Bank. (Spoiler: You have nothing to worry about.)

The king of Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, the European Union and opponents on the home front provided the media, which returned to the good old days of the Oslo Accords, with reasons to mobilize in an effort to scare Israel’s citizens. This is what will happen (say the media): Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) will dismantle the Palestinian Authority and stop security coordination with Israel; just around the corner are buses in flames on the streets of Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan and Jerusalem; suicide bombers will blow themselves up at malls, bus stops, cafés and hotels. (This actually happened in the days of the Oslo Accords, when Israel was on its way to making generous concessions and not, God forbid, pursuing miniscule annexations.)

What frightens Israelis more than terror attacks is that Israel will again be responsible for the well-being and welfare of 2.5 million Palestinians. What have we come to?

Abu Mazen, along with King Abdullah, are repeating ad nauseam their idle threats, and Israel’s media outlets, who know full well how idle they are, keep echoing them. As is customary in Israeli media, its ideological positions overcome professionalism.

People dealing with Palestinian issues know that the Palestinian Authority will not be dismantled and that security coordination will not cease, and that missiles aimed at Ben Gurion Airport will not be launched from Nablus anytime soon. Israel has learned a thing or two since its flight from Gaza (though not from its flight from Lebanon). When there is a real concern about a ticking bomb in the West Bank’s Area A, the Shin Bet security service and army take care of it, not the “security coordination.”

Abu Mazen is fighting Hamas not out of love for Israel, but out of fear that Hamas will take over Judea and Samaria, with the fate of its people similar to that of Fatah members in Gaza. We remember the pictures of Hamas activists throwing Fatah members off roofs or otherwise executing them to the sound of cheering, bloodthirsty masses in the squares of Gaza City and Khan Yunis. Protecting the rulers and benefiting from the perks enjoyed by an oligarchy is the main motive for maintaining “security coordination,” not the wish to prevent attacks against Israel.

The king’s quiver is also empty. The greatest beneficiary of the “peace” treaty with Jordan is Jordan. In security-related areas, just as with the Palestinians, Israel helps sustain the survival of the fragile monarchy in manifold ways.

Here too, it’s not for the love of Israel that Jordan’s army and intelligence services are keeping an eye on Israel’s enemies in Jordan. These enemies also threaten the throne. As long as Jordan remains a totalitarian monarchy, the peace agreement will not be abrogated.

If I’m wrong, so much the better. It will signal the beginning of the end of the Hashemite monarchy. Replacing it will be a parliamentary government (in the Middle Eastern sense of this term, obviously), with an absolute Palestinian majority. And there, in Jordan, the Palestinian state will arise.

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