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Weakened and isolated, Mahmoud Abbas blocks any deal on Gaza that would bypass him

The United States, which claims to be the inescapable mediator of the conflict, has never adopted such a partisan position. The president of the Palestinian Authority, politically walled and withdrawn, refuses any compromise.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, on his way out of the hospital in Ramallah on May 28.

Hope is exhausting when he continues to be disappointed. To all their ills, Gazans must add this suffering: to believe in vain that the vise around their territory could finally be loosened. This was the case in October 2017 when Hamas, master of Gaza for eleven years, and Fatah, of President Mahmoud Abbas, had concluded a reconciliation agreement under the auspices of Egypt. Failure. Then came the violence, the only one to react abroad: nearly 130 dead and 4,500 wounded by bullets since the end of March, during demonstrations of the march of return, throwing incendiary kites to Israel, feverish episodes of Israeli strikes and Palestinian rocket fire.

At the end of August, a sense of shared urgency led to a diplomatic thrill. After intense negotiations, once again initiated by Cairo, a possible step-by-step agreement was emerging between Hamas and Israel for a long-term truce. The promised reward was a partial lifting of the embargo, economic projects, new infrastructure for water and electricity. Las. The equation remains unresolvable, as its terms are complex. This time, neither Hamas nor Israel are involved, but an 83-year-old man with failing health, turned on himself at the twilight of his journey, counting his enemies rather than his success in his palace bunker.

Mahmoud Abbas felt that we wanted, politically, to surround him alive. Deal directly with the armed Islamist movement, when it considers itself the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The “rais” has done everything to prevent the talks from succeeding, and the Egyptians have finally bent: nothing can be done without the return of the Palestinian Authority (PA) at the head of the Gaza Strip. “There is zero willingness to compromise, compromise or dialogue on the side of the PA,” regrets a European diplomat.

In Gaza, Friday, September 14th, the …

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