This week, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Donald Trump will sit down together to talk. This is the first such meeting since the US presidential election, and it comes at a time when the Palestinian scene is characterized by mounting internal tensions, fighting and divisiveness. The disarray among the Palestinians, where everyone seems to be fighting everyone else, casts serious doubt on Abbas’s ability to lead the Palestinians towards a better future. The chaos also raises the question whether Abbas has the authority to speak on behalf of a majority of Palestinians, let alone sign a peace agreement with Israel that would be acceptable to enough of his people.
Abbas, however, seems rather oblivious to the state of bedlam among the Palestinians, and appears determined to forge ahead despite the radical instability he is facing.
He is travelling to Washington to tell Trump that he and his PA leadership seek a “just and comprehensive” peace with Israel through the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
In the meeting, Abbas is likely to repeat his long-standing charges that Israel continues to “sabotage” any prospect for peace with the Palestinians.
Abbas is not likely to mention the mayhem that the PA leadership is facing at home. Nor is the fact that the Palestinians are as far as ever from achieving their goal of statehood likely to be a preeminent subject. Why bother discussing inconvenient truths, such as the deep divisions among the Palestinians and failure to hold presidential and parliamentary elections, when you can point the finger of blame at Israel?