‘Mahmoud Abbas’s term as president officially ended more than six years ago. The Basic Law allowed him an extension of one year but he still clings to power with scant legitimacy. Too many people see past his charade. He now appears to them as the king with no clothes and, in the words of the Danny Kaye song, “altogether as naked as the day that he was born”.
The trouble with Abbas is that he travels a long way “behind the curve”. The Israelis’ determination to make their occupation permanent was clear long ago. Illegal settlement building under the Allon Plan, effectively annexing Palestinian territory, began in 1967 and their dash to create as many irreversible “facts on the ground” as possible has been staring us in the face for decades.
Abbas claims to be one of the architects of the Oslo interim agreement, which was supposed to ensure a start to negotiations on the permanent status by May 1996, leading to the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and the settling of all the main issues. Has it really taken him 19 years to see that it was going nowhere?’