International Israel Juan Cole

The Rank Hypocrisy Behind Biden Officials’ ‘Fury’ at Mahmoud Abbas

After stabbing Palestinians in the back for decades, U.S. officials are now “offended” that President Abbas doesn’t trust them and wants Russia involved.

By Juan Cole | Informed Comment

Barak Ravid at Axios reports that Biden administration officials are furious about remarks by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas saying he lacked confidence in the US as a mediator.

What Ravid does not say is that Washington has no right, none, to get on a high horse. Since the US sponsored and co-signed the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993, which guaranteed Palestinians a state in the West Bank and Gaza by 1997 in return for PLO recognition of Israel, Palestinians have been royally screwed over. Not only did the Israelis not withdraw from Areas C, B, and A in turn, as the accords specified, they doubled the number of squatters they sent from Israel to take over private Palestinian land just in the 1990s alone. That squatting process has accelerated in recent years. In the Trump era, the US cut the Palestinians off at the knees, defunding aid programs left and right.

The Biden people appear to think that Abbas owes them for restoring several hundred million dollars of aid to the Palestinians.

But, and I wish administration officials could hear this loud and clear, Palestinians don’t want to sell, for some aid money, their aspiration for statehood. They don’t want to sell their birthright to the land that their ancestors had farmed for, in many cases, thousands of years, and which has now been usurped from them by the Zionist movement, which originated among modern European Jews.

The US has played a very sinister role in prolonging and deepening the suffering and expropriation of the Palestinian people, clearly siding with the far right wing governments of Israel at every turn.

Is it any wonder that the Palestinians have lost patience?

On Thursday, Abbas had met with Vladimir Putin at a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. Abbas said that he had lost confidence in the United States as a mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Moscow-educated Abbas said, “We have no confidence in America, and you know our opinion. We just don’t have any confidence in it and do not rely on it, and we don’t accept that America should be under any circumstance the only party in resolving the problem.” He added that the Palestinians would only accept American mediation if it was part of the Quartet that includes Russia.

The Quartet consists of the European Union, Russia, the United States, and the United Nations, and has conducted negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians since it was established by the UN Security Council in 2002. Its main principles are non-violence, recognition of Israel, and implementation of Security Council resolutions (on a two-state solution). I’d just make the editorial comment that the Quartet, and Putin’s Russia, has not been more effective as a mediator than the US, which is to say that both of them have completely failed.

Abbas urged a rebooting of the Quartet process, saying that the negotiations simply cannot be left to the United States on its own. Palestinians have complained for three decades that there is no difference between the US position and the Israeli one whenever they have engaged in negotiations, so that the US acts as an echo chamber for Tel Aviv rather than as an independent referee.

Abbas said during the meeting, “Mr. President, we are completely satisfied” with Russia’s stance towards the Palestinian people. He added, “Russia adheres to justice and international law, and that is enough for us.”

In the context of the Israeli aggressive theft of Palestinian land and settling of hundreds of thousands of Israelis on the stolen land, the comment about Russia’s commitment to international law (i.e. the two-state solution) makes some sense.

In the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, however, Abbas’ comment sounds tone deaf. You would think he would sympathize with another occupied people, the Ukrainians, rather than praising the occupier.

Except that the Ukrainians have no sympathy, either, for another colonized people and have been stridently pro-Israel. Kyiv seems hurt and upset that Israel has tried to remain neutral between Russia and Ukraine and to keep on Putin’s good side, but that hasn’t stopped President Volodomyr Zelensky and his cabinet officials from their strong backing for Israel.

So since he is getting no support from Ukraine, and since the US has its thumb on the Israeli side of the scale, it makes sense to Abbas to seek Russian support for the Palestinians. Hence, his attempt to turn to the Quartet.

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Juan Cole
Juan Cole

Juan Cole is a public intellectual, prominent blogger and essayist, and the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

9 comments

  1. What everybody calls the Holocaust has given Israel blank authority and suzerainty over the lives and land of the Palestinians. They are not obligated to consider international law as it conflicts with their goals. Add to this is the fact that there are far too many jews and jewish organizations in the U.S. backing Israel without registering as a foreign entity. Anyone bucking this trend is classed as anti-Semitic. Isn’t it any wonder why the situation exists as it is.

  2. Some negotiate only until they have the advantage, ask the American Indians, or others. I donate $ to the IRUSA when Israel increases its killing of its captives with bullets paid for by others.

  3. Probably time people woke up to the fact that Zionism is not an ideology focussed solely on the stretch of land “between the River and the Sea”. Neither is it purely a “Jewish” phenomenon. It is, root and branch, a fascist ideology that is now metastasizing into a Worldwide instrument of control.
    “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he wants his country to become a “‘big Israel’ with its own face” after the Russian invasion ends, stressing that security would likely be the main issue in Ukraine during the post-war period.”
    Like an octopus lying camouflaged on the seabed, it is beginning to move and reveal its tentacles.
    Coming to a neighbourhood near you soon.

    1. @Brewer
      Zionism has nothing to do with “Worldwide control” ( where did you got that? “The Protocols of the Sages of Zion “or “Mein Kampf”?) and is defined (Oxford Dictionary dixit) as a political movement that was originally begun in order to establish an independent state for Jewish people, and now supports the development and protection of the state of Israel.
      Jews have returned to the Land of Israel during the all ages of history , from all parts of the world : North Africa, Yemen, India , Persia and more, not only from Eastern Europe and have the strongest link to it.
      Even Saladin recognized this when he invited the Jews to return to Jerusalem in the 12th century.

      1. Sorry to disappoint but I have read neither of the publications you mention. My journey began as an avid supporter of Zionism and Israel but altered course as a result of Israel’s 1982 War on Lebanon. I suppose the massacres Sabra and Shatilla caused me to delve into the History of the Palestinian conflict – History is both my game and my primary interest. To cut a long story short, that History introduced me to the cult we now know as Neo-cons for you cannot understand Israel without delving into the otherwise inexplicable support given to it by the U.S.
        Then along came the Wars for Israel – Iraq one and two, Libya, Syria and now Ukraine and we meet the PNAC crew – Wolfowitz, Perle, Kristol (pere and fils), Kagan, Libby, Nuland and their water-carriers and a pattern emerges. Hence my comment.
        To deny Israel is expansionist and to deny the massive influence Zionists and their sympathizers have on the U.S. foreign policy is to deny reality. Go ahead if you remain so deluded as to ignore the obvious.

  4. The Oslo Accords have been the model for the Minsk Agreements. Same pattern. This time they are messing with a country strong enough to call them on it. Abbas is right. Better late than ever.

  5. lacking all morality—hypocrisy is expected from an american….”we are never deceived–we deceive ourselves”. Goethe
    americans are inherently immoral—as many have long observed—it is the fascist liberal that is worst—documented by Gorer in the 1940-1968, the Marxists Sennett and Lasch: 1970–2022, the Parsonian Slater also…finally Gabbard recognized the detestable nature of the american liberal–progressive

  6. Thank you, Juan. We are on the sidelines to watch the consequences unravel.

    Kindly continue with a Part II.

  7. Indeed, there is no difference between the U.S.. and Israel when it comes to support for Israeli interests. But there is also little difference between Abbas and The Palestinian Authority and Israel. The PA is, and always has been, an Israeli cut-out – serving
    the interests of Israel and employing some of the same inhuman tactics, such as torture. This is why Palestinians detest the PA and certainly don’t look to them for justice or morally informed progress for the Palestinian people

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