Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Challenges Facing Mahmoud Abbas | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

Mahmoud Abbas’s unequivocal stance towards the Hamas coup is a commendable one even though it may have come somewhat too late. Those who carried out the coup in Gaza had isolated themselves on the popular, Arab and international levels when they allowed the mentality of political adolescence to reign and took heed of their regional allies who do not wish them well. Unfortunately, the first victims of Hamas are the innocent citizens in the Gaza Strip who, it seems, will face difficult days ahead.

The battle of Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] with Hamas and its regional allies will only be successful if Mahmoud Abbas begins by looking at himself and his leadership and leads a process of political and security reform in the West Bank, as well as creating a model that can set an example for the people of Gaza and others. Such a stance requires courageous decisions to be made, the first of which is the dissolution of Fatah militias and eliminating scenes of armed men in towns and villages in the West Bank, and considering the carrying of arms by parties other than security authorities a crime that is punishable by law.

The issue also requires a public stand to be taken against the forces of administrative and financial corruption within authority. The appointment of a professional figure such as Salam Fayyad as head of the provisional government was a calculated step in favor of Abbas. However, it is more important that the presidency would grant extensive powers to this government for the sake of its war against corruption and those who corrupt. Abbas should remember that one of the factors of growth and expansion in Hamas, apart from the significant financial support that Hamas receives from regional parties and Muslim Brotherhood movements especially in the Gulf states, is that Hamas had benefited from the actions of a few corrupt leaders who belonged to Fatah and committed crimes with respect to public money and exploited official institutions for their personal interests.

Abbas now bears the responsibility of rushing for the sake of peace, without listening to the cries of those who play games of one-upmanship who accuse people of treason and who realize completely that peace means the end of extremism on both the Arab and Israeli sides. Without a doubt, Abbas is freer now that he has been liberated from his alliances with Hamas. Abbas must offer something to the residents of the West Bank that is different to the poor example created by the authority. Not to forget, at the same time, he is not the leader of the West Bank alone but rather the leader of all Palestinians, especially the inhabitants of Gaza who represent the largest number of victims of the Hamas coup.