Israel's 'partner in peace' unilaterally withdraws from Oslo Accords

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas told the U.N. General Assembly that the Palestinian Authority no longer feels bound by the Oslo Accords, which created the PA in the first place.  In effect, Abbas is cutting his own throat to improve his domestic standing with more radical elements.

Abbas wants Israel to assume "full authority" as an occupying power, which may make Israeli policy even more restrictive if the Palestinians continue to agitate for access in Jerusalem and elsewhere.


Many Israelis who oppose peace with the Palestinians are certain to argue that Abbas is proving that no Palestinian government can be trusted to keep its international obligations. Worse, that argument is likely to have resonance  among moderate Israelis who would be willing to consider a peace treaty in the right circumstances.

After all, if the Palestinian Authority can simply announce that it thinks Israel has breached the Oslo Accords and that they’re no longer binding, what would stop a future Palestinian government from doing the same with respect to any future peace treaty?

In the real world of international relations, the possibility that a party can declare the other side has breached is always there. Countries sign treaties anyway because everyone understands the cost to the reputation of a party that withdraws unjustifiably.

Abbas is now taking on that reputational cost in a major way. He must know this -- and must therefore believe that the gains to his domestic legitimacy among Palestinians are worth the cost, which he personally is unlikely to take on board in his lifetime. Speculation that Abbas will step down is a constant feature of Palestinian politics, but it seems at least possible that Abbas wants to retire from office with the Oslo Accords definitively repudiated and Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation more or less ended.

There's a further twist to Abbas’s use of the UN General Assembly as a platform to withdraw from a treaty. One of the grounds for Palestine's inclusion as a “non-member observer state” in the UN, as opposed to an “observer entity,” has certainly been the statelike forms of sovereignty exercised by the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Accords. In his speech, Abbas disclaimed precisely those same forms of control, asserting that Israel must now “assume fully all its responsibility as an occupying power.” In other words, acting as a head of state, Abbas called for the dismantling of his state’s only exercise of state sovereignty. If that comes to pass, a Palestinian state may be further away, not closer.

On the surface, this seems like a pretty stupid move by Abbas.  As the Bloomberg piece points out, it makes any peace deal establishing a Palestinian state extremely remote.  But this is what the Palestinian people want.  They have no interest in "peaceful coexistence" with Israel.  They are dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state, and anything less will not be accepted.

Abbas, like any politician, is giving the people what they want – total opposition and resistance to Israel.  And their Western stooges in Europe and the U.S. will no doubt help them as much as possible.

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