Who is Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas denies the Palestinians fundamental rights. Under pressure from European states - above all Germany - the Palestinian president called elections in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. But then Abbas canceled the ballot once again with a clear explanation.
It has now been 15 years since Palestinians were allowed to vote on the composition of their parliament with their vote. And President Abbas has governed for years without democratic legitimation. Since the Islamist Hamas came to power in the Gaza Strip 14 years ago, his sphere of rule has only been limited to the West Bank.
This time the Israeli government gave him the pretext for his election cancellation: in fact, unlike in 2006, Israel did not make the post offices in East Jerusalem available as polling stations. This is a violation of the Oslo Accords, and Israel as an occupying power can be criticized for it. But this refusal should not have meant the cancellation of the entire election.
Because only around 6000 Palestinians are affected, for whom the Palestinian leadership could have looked for other options - provided they had the appropriate will. The majority of the Arab residents of East Jerusalem, around 150,000 people, should vote in other places anyway.
For Abbas, Israel's stance was a welcome opportunity to overturn the entire ballot and thereby deny the 2.5 million eligible voters their democratic rights. Abbas proudly shows once again that he is only interested in maintaining power. He is an Arab potentate whose clique has also benefited from EU money for years.
Young Palestinians in particular criticize the corruption that is present everywhere and the brutal crackdown on demonstrators and journalists by the security forces. They no longer only blame the Israeli occupation for their situation, but also their remote leadership - and rightly so. Because the Palestinian leadership robs them of any hope for a better future.
Abbas has not given any impetus to the peace process, which has fallen through. To stubbornly say no is not enough, especially since Israel's long-term Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is massively pushing ahead with the construction of settlements.
It is not surprising that Abbas has been losing support for years and leading members have split off from his Fatah party. The 85-year-old, seriously ill president rules according to the motto "divide and rule" and has so far failed to nominate a successor. Above all, Abbas is interested in maintaining the status quo and keeping Hamas in check. The Palestinian society is divided, at best still united in the goal of getting its own state. Abbas is largely responsible for this as well.
The EU states - and above all Germany - must now ask themselves whether they want to continue to support a corrupt regime that obviously does not value democratic principles. The victims are the Palestinians, betrayed by their own leadership and forgotten by the international community.
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