During his opening statement at the weekly Cabinet meeting, recently held in Ramallah, Mahmoud Abbas briefed the Palestinian Authority on the latest developments of the current political situation, especially his categorical rejection of the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’. “The so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ is categorically rejected and has no place at the negotiating table,” Abbas stated.
USA President Joe Biden has been pushing Israel to take measures that curtail expansion plans in the Israeli settlement blocks. The rationale has been to remove potential obstacles for refreshed brokered peace talks between the PA and Israel. While many in the far left of the Israeli coalition, together with Arab members of the Knesset readily support any move that weakens the Israeli right wing block, which includes the support of the settlement enterprise, the fragile coalition originally built on right wing principles is crumbling from within over Biden’s insistence to placate the PA. But the continued official PA rejections of Biden’s overtures doesn’t augur well for renewed peace prospects in the region.
President Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ achieved success under the formal name of the Abraham Accords. This accord attracted many previously Arab states hostile to Israel to engage with the Jewish State. The accord also refrained from making peace concessions dependent upon PA demands to undermine Israel’s right wing majority, in particular as regards to the settlements agenda. This stance was generally accepted as tacit approval of settlement activities, provided it was kept low key. Therefore, many in prominent Israeli government positions see Biden as being not only a weak leader but also one contributing towards the new escalation of tensions between Palestinians and Jews, to a degree not seen under President Trump, but only in the previous Obama administration, with Biden being second in command.
The entrenched position of the PA that totally negates the Abraham Accords, not only affects Israel’s negotiating position on the settlement blocks, but also has the potential to reverse gains achieved under the Trump administration with internal and external Israeli interests. Biden’s continued policy to appease the PA has only served towards bringing the current Israeli coalition to the verge of collapse. Some coalition leaders still prefer to appease Biden, even though that threatens a previously stable right wing support base needed to keep the coalition afloat. There is growing concern that Biden’s continued attempts at trying to appease a PA leadership that categorically refuses any compromise on prominent issues is only serving to create an even wider chasm.