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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Surprise: Abu Mazen and Fayyad have no mandate

We already knew that Abu Mazen's term in office expired in January 2009, but his mandate is even weaker than that statement indicates.
The 18-member PLO Executive Committee, which met in Ramallah last week to approve the Palestinians' participation in the direct talks with Israel, is dominated by unelected veteran officials.

Only nine PLO officials attended the meeting. The PLO constitution requires a minimum of 12 members for a quorum. This means that, contrary to reports in the Palestinian and international media, Abbas and Fayyad do not have the support of the PLO committee to negotiate directly with Israel.

With regards to the Central Council of Fatah, it remains unclear whether its 21 members ever endorsed the US invitation to hold direct talks with Israel.
And that's without even counting the fact that Abu Mazen is not a 'strongman' as nearly all Arab rulers are. And the result?
Besides, who said that Abbas and Fayyad would be able to sell any agreement to a majority of Palestinians? How can any Palestinian buy an agreement from them after they told their people that they are going to the talks only because the Americans and Europeans threatened to cut off financial aid?

Any agreement Abbas and Fayyad bring back home will be seen by many Palestinians as the fruit of "extortion" and "threats" and not as the result of peace talks that were conducted in good faith.

Leaders who do not have a clear mandate from their people will not be able to strike any deal with Israel, particularly when it concerns explosive issues such as Jerusalem, refugees and settlements. The Palestinian leadership's decision to negotiate directly with Israel unconditionally has already enraged many Palestinians across the political spectrum.

Abbas and Fayyad are nonetheless not stupid. The two are well aware of the fact that they do not have a mandate to sign any agreement with Israel. This is why they will search for any excuse to withdraw from the direct talks and blame Israel for the failure of the peace process.

Under the current circumstances, it would have been better had the US Administration thought twice before issuing the invitation for the peace talks.
What could go wrong?


At 5:20 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

There will be no agreement. The entire exercise is what the Russians called "pokazuha", for "show." Like those Potemkin villages that used to be set up to impress foreigners visiting Russia. The direct talks are all style, no substance.

At 3:04 PM, Blogger Mervyn Doobov said...

And what, by the way, is the precise nature of the mandate that Netanyahu has from the people of Israel?


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