Hebrew University Professor Eli Podeh thinks the upcoming economic workshop in Bahrain has the “potential to aggravate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Podeh acknowledges that the Palestinian Arabs have been “serial refusniks” in all the processes which aimed to solve the now hundred-year-old conflict but nevertheless criticizes the US Administration of Donald J. Trump for not “consulting, sharing or coordinating with one of the parties involved in the conflict.”
The PA’s refusal to attend the economic workshop in Bahrain is “understandable” according to Podeh because it fears that ‘economic peace’ is going to be a “an alternative to real, diplomatic peace.”
Podeh says “disappointing historic experience with the contribution of economic conferences to the diplomatic process, combined with recent events, lead to the conclusion that Trump would have been better off delaying or cancelling the economic workshop altogether.”
The Israeli Middle East expert could be right about the danger that the economic conference in Bahrain has the potential to aggravate the conflict between the Palestinian Arabs and Israel.
If we take a look at current events in the territories under PA control we will see that the Palestinian leadership is preparing for more violence to derail Trump’s initiatives to create a different reality in the so-called West Bank (Judea and Samaria).
At the same time it’s easy to see why there’s no chance to reach “real diplomatic peace” between the parties in the near future as Podeh puts it.
PA officials last week announced they will try to organize another popular uprising which must coincide with Bahrain conference as the Palestinian Liberation Organization called for a general strike on June 25 when the workshop in Bahrain starts.
The announcement came after Egypt and Jordan decided to participate in the conference something that deeply frustrated the Palestinian leadership.
The PA “deeply regrets the declaration of Cairo and Amman about its participating in the workshop and call on them and all brotherly and friendly countries to withdraw from participating in the workshop,” PA spokesman Ibrahim Melhim said last week.
The decision by Jordan and Egypt as well as Morocco and the Gulf states to attend the summit “ is a resounding slap in the face of the Palestinian Authority and expresses an utter lack of faith in its path and leadership,” Professor Eyal Zisser of Tel Aviv University says.
Zisser thinks the PA “could lose more than their power to veto normalization of Israeli-Arab ties, which they essentially squandered a long time ago.”
“What’s really at stake now is their ability to decide their own fate,” according to the TAU Professor.
In fact, the PA decided a long time ago to prepare for another confrontation with Israel.
The PA’s security forces, for example, have grown by disproportionate numbers since 2013 when the Obama Administration was still trying to revive the moribund peace process.
“Between 2013 and 2017 the number of officers in the different PA security apparatuses grew from 23,163 to 30,313. Of these additional officers, 5,982 hold the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (+2,167) to Major General (+97),” Palestinian Media Watch citing the NGO Aman reported.
Members of the PA security apparatus have, furthermore, been caught carrying out shooting attacks against Israeli citizens recently.
Then there is the fact that the PA is still being treated as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian Arabs while the population in the territories under PA control is more than fed up with its policies.
A recent poll conducted by prominent Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki revealed a staggering 82 percent of the Palestinian Arabs believe the PA is a corrupt body while 60 percent of them want PA leader Mahmoud Abbas to resign.
The poll was conducted after new revelations about corruption in the PA and the leaking of a report which revealed Abbas had rewarded his ministers with a 67 percent salary hike despite the economic malaise in Palestinian society.
The new revelations about the staggering corruption in the PA have led to a crack-down on anti-corruption activists in Palestinian society.
The PA security forces arrested three prominent anti-corruption activists last week in an attempt to silence critics of the regime in Ramallah.
PA officials now claim that the recent leaks which once again exposed the rampant corruption and nepotism in the Palestinian Authority are an Israeli American conspiracy to weaken Abbas’ regime in light of his refusal to cooperate with the Trump Administration.
Another indication the Palestinian Arabs are light years away from achieving peace with their Israeli neighbors is the continuing wave of terror which has been encouraged by the PA.
On Monday, news broke that Israeli police had arrested a Palestinian Arab man who kidnapped and brutally raped a seven-year-old Jewish girl from a Jewish community near the Palestinian village of Dir Kadis in Samaria more than three months ago because she “deserved it” according to the suspect.
The news about the arrest of Nazmi Abed el-Hamid Kattousa, 46, a married father who worked as a member of the maintenance staff at a Jewish school near Dir Kadis led to outrage and calls for the death penalty among right-wing Israeli politicians.
It was the second time in one week that Dir Kadis made headlines in Israel’s media.
Last week, the PA sacked a Fatah official who allowed four Jews to attend the wedding of his son in the Palestinian village near the Israeli town of Modiin Illit.
The invitation of the Jews from Modiin Illit led to the establishment of a special PA committee that is supposed to take further steps against the official who served as council head in Dir Kadis.