Mahmood Abbas is the best current example of a spoiled brat that the international political scene can offer. Coming from a rich cultural tradition of such behaviour, he has consistently attempted to manipulate the Israeli political scene through staunchly infantile techniques. When Hussein Obama became president of the United States and immediately struck an anti-Israel chord with his speeches and policies, Abbas seemed ecstatic. One would think that a sympathetic US president willing to exert unilateral pressure on Israel would be a godsend (or is that an Allahsend) to the president of the so-called Palestinian authority.
Unforunately for him, Israel didn't prove to be the pushoever he was hoping it would be. This isn't the first time a local Arab chieftain has miscalculated his opponents. Yassir Arafat, y"sh, thought that Israeli morale was so poor in 2000 that launching Intifada II would cause its society to demand an immediately capitulation to his maximal demands. Instead, he got a pre-corruption probe Ariel Sharon who took away all the credible gains that the Arabs in Yehudah, Shomron and 'Aza had achieved over the previous seven years. After all, as any good parents knows, if your brat isn't playing nice you confiscate his toys.
Abbas' approach to Netanyahu was similar. Assuming that Obama and Hillary would back him up and side against Israel no matter how incredible his claims were, he sat back, presented his own maximal demands and announced that unconditional acceptance of those terms was the minimum he would accept to return to the negotiation table.
But a funny thing happened on the way to that felafel stand. Bibi Netanyahu stood his ground and Israel once again coalesced around him. Giving Obama a 96% disapproval rating was what the prime minister needed to confront the formerly reliable ally and stand his ground.
At first, Abbas responded by being even more petulant. Surely Obama would eventually twist Netanyahu's arm and force him to the table on his terms. All he had to do was be unreasonable and wait, and wait...
But what he did not forsee was Obama's rapid decline in popularity. Swept into office with great expectations, it hasn't taken most Americans very long to realize that they elected a charlatan, a guy capable of giving great speeches but only able to lead by diktat. Americans may have wanted a fairer, more functional society but Obama seems prepared to force a socialist utopia down their throats and they are pushing back. The recent Republican election victories, a year after the party was written off for at least the next 20 years, show how quickly the backlash has occured.
With dwindling public support, a health care bill that isn't going anywhere, repeated humiliations by Iran and a resurgent domestic opposition that is shrugging off accustations of racism, Obama suddenly has more things to worry about that how to weaken Israel in order to make better friends with its enemies. Suddenly the will to unilaterally pressure Israel has dropped and Abbas has been left high and dry by this change.
His response? He simply upped the ante. A five year old would threaten to hold his breath. Abbas isntead tendered his lack of willingness to run in elections a couple of months from now that might not have been held in any event. And when the response from the world other than the French was "Yawn!", he became even more dramatic:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is considering dissolving the PA and declaring the failure of the peace process with Israel, PA officials in Ramallah said over the weekend.
In his televised speech on Thursday, in which he announced that he has "no desire" to run in the upcoming presidential election, Abbas said that he would also consider taking "other measures" in the future, but did not elaborate
The article goes on to describe the various parties that dear ol' Abbas is disappointed with. The list of the usual suspects are all those that he feels could have pressure Israel more to give in to him but didn't. He didn't get what he wants so he's picking up his stuff and going home to play by himself.
All I know if that if I had five bucks for every time he or Arafat threatened to dismantled the PA or quit in protest without actually going through with it I wouldn't need to be doing this overnight ER shift.