Why Europe Still Supports Abbas and his ‘Illegitimate Authority’ Despite All!
“Europe is angry because of Abbas's postponement of the Palestinian elections and violations of the security of the Authority ”
In a contrast to what the Palestinian president looked like years ago, a French newspaper described Mahmoud Abbas as a "tyrant" clinging to "fake power", calling on Europe to stop its fruitless support for an authority it considered "oppressive" and "illegitimate."
The French daily "Le Monde" called on the European Union to condition its assistance to the Palestinian Authority by holding "elections" and "reforming the security services", which are responsible for committing grave violations, in reference to the killing of the Palestinian Nizar Banat.
The European Union and its member states, are the largest donors to the Palestinian Authority, in a consistent commitment that has not been affected by the Union budget since the signing of the "Oslo Accords" in 1993 by the occupying Israeli entity and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Those agreements, which were negotiated in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, provided for the establishment of a "Palestinian Authority" in the lands to be vacated by the Israeli occupation.
While the Palestinian Authority is the result of an Israeli-Palestinian settlement only, the European Union has chosen to view this authority as the embryo of a future Palestinian state and its financing proceeds accordingly.
Since 2017, the European Union has been paying more than “one billion euros” each year to the Palestinian Authority with the prospect of a “democratic and responsible Palestinian state.”
The French newspaper says, "It is ironic that such generous aid is the subject of consensus within the European Union."
It explained that it brings together supporters of the "two-state solution" on the one hand, and supporters of the Israeli entity on the other hand, who consider the Palestinian Authority for them to be an authority that obeys the orders of Israeli occupation and colonialism.
However, this European policy is no longer viable in the face of recent abuses by the Palestinian Authority.
Reject The Election
Mahmoud Abbas was elected in 2005 to the presidency of the Palestinian Authority with 62.5 percent of the vote, in a vote that witnessed transparency and pluralism in the Arab world.
Abbas, who is the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization and also the head of its main nucleus, the "Fatah movement", could count on a majority in the Palestinian parliament.
But the 2006 legislative elections gave a majority to the Islamists in the Islamic Resistance Movement "Hamas", the political movement opposed to the Palestine Liberation Organization and Fatah movement.
Since then, Abbas has exercised "authority" over only 40 percent of the West Bank and nearly 2.8 million Palestinians (as opposed to Gaza's two million residents).
Nevertheless, the European Union decided to increase support for Abbas and his Palestinian Authority, in the hope that this generosity would persuade Hamas to join the peace process.
None of that happened, and the gap continued to widen between the "Fatah Authority" in the West Bank and the "Hamas Authority" in Gaza.
It has now been a decade since the end of the term of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his deputies in parliament, yet the European Union has endorsed this largely undemocratic situation, amounting to more than €1 billion annually.
Le Monde says that the Palestinian "third way" forces, independent of Fatah and Hamas, have finally succeeded in negotiating in 2021 a compromise solution that would allow general elections for the Palestinian parliament to be held on May 22, 2021, and another on July 31, 2021 to the presidency of the Palestinian Authority.
This trend raised great hope among the Palestinian population, as the voter registration rate reached 93 percent.
Abbas, 86, announced for his part that he would not run for another term and pledged to guarantee "free and democratic" elections.
But in April 2021, the French newspaper says: "The Palestinian autocrat (Mahmoud Abbas) highlighted Israel's refusal to hold elections in East Jerusalem in order to postpone these long-awaited deadlines indefinitely."
It pointed out that the European Union acquiesced in Abbas's determination to cling to power instead of asking him to hold these elections.
It stressed that "the closure of the political horizon significantly contributed to the escalation of May 2021 and the bloody conflict that raged around the Gaza Strip," in reference to the Battle of Saif al-Quds, between Hamas and the Israeli occupation army.
Nizar Banat Is Killed
The newspaper believes that "the recent crisis revealed the isolation and inability of Abbas, entrenched in the presidential palace in Ramallah, bent on suppressing opposition voices in the West Bank."
While five candidates who announced their candidacy in the legislative elections were imprisoned, the sixth, Nizar Banat, died on June 24, 2021, a few hours after his arrest.
The autopsy concluded that the death was "abnormal" and revealed "injuries" to "many areas of the body including the head".
Banat's family accuses the Palestinian Authority of torturing their breadwinner and a prominent dissident to death in order to silence all forms of critical expression.
Protests in the West Bank chanted for the first time, "The people want the fall of the regime," the slogan of the 2011 Arab uprisings, and also denounced the "military rule" of the Palestinian Authority.
Le Monde describes the situation in the West Bank as a severe repression that targets journalists, especially women, who have become victims of physical and verbal harassment.
Reporters Without Borders said that at least 35 journalists were subjected to police violence in the week following Nizar Banat's death.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is calling on the Palestinian Authority to exercise "restraint".
She was concerned about the brutality practiced by the authorities against the demonstrators by people in civilian clothes who, according to her, "appear to be acting in an organized and coordinated manner with the Palestinian security forces."
Regarding the European Union's reaction, Le Monde confirmed that it has so far only come out with a simple statement from its representatives in Jerusalem who demanded, in the wake of the death of Banat, an "independent" and "transparent" investigation.
However, it added, the European Union can no longer be satisfied with such a position in the face of the abuses of the Palestinian Authority, which guarantees its "salaries" at the end of each month.
It stressed that "it is no longer a question of diplomatic complacency, but of objective complicity with Abbas, who was described by a recent editorial in the newspaper "Le Monde" as "a tyrant clinging to an imaginary power."
It stressed that "the European Union has failed to guarantee the Palestinians' right to self-determination within the framework of a unified state."
On the other hand, we note the fruitless nature of support for an essentially illegitimate and repressive Palestinian Authority, and the reason for this is due to the absence of any electoral action for fifteen years.
The French newspaper concluded, "If the European Union proves unable to make the Palestinian Authority respect the minimum rules of law enforcement, it is better for it to stop its support for such discredited institutions."