Fatah Slams Obama. Where Does Abbas Stand?

Photo Courtesy of America.gov

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


As the adage says, if you’re a friend to everyone, you’re a friend to no one. This seemed to be confirmed Monday when Fatah, the moderate Palestinian political party that controls the West Bank, distributed a memo saying that its support for President Obama “evaporated” after he bent to pressure from the Zionist lobby. But since Obama also drew Israeli criticism in June for opposing Israel’s construction of settlements in Palestinian territories in a Cairo speech, the Fatah statement comes as a surprise. The dominance of the hard-line American Israel lobby has receded in recent years and President Obama is widely seen as more supportive of the Palestinian Authority than his predecessors. So why the ire?

Upon closer examination, Fatah’s statement says more about Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ political capital than it does about Obama’s leadership. As the AP writes, it is unclear whether Abbas was even involved with the memo:

The memo comes at a time of turmoil within Fatah after Abbas quickly reversed a decision to suspend efforts to bring Israel before a U.N. war crimes tribunal in connection with the Gaza war.

The document, dated Oct. 12, was issued by Fatah’s Office of Mobilization and Organization. The office is headed by the party’s No. 2, Mohammed Ghneim.

It was not immediately clear whether the document reflects Abbas’ views or whether it was leaked to pressure Obama to bear down harder on Israel. Abbas’ aides had no comment and Ghneim could not immediately be reached for comment.

Abbas has drawn criticism for working toward peace with the United States and Israel without demanding enough from his Israeli counterparts. This week, Lebanon’s Daily Star ran an editorial demanding that Abbas step down, and a youth group in the Gaza Strip held a mock trial, prosecuting Abbas for “betraying the blood of the martyrs and the injured.”

This is certainly a setback for the already-tenuous Middle East peace process. Middle Eastern news sources continue to suggest a possible Third Intifada. Will Abbas make a politically risky statement supporting Obama, or differ to Fatah hard-liners and distance the party from its best chance in decades to foster an American ally? Stay tuned.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate