As he has done in the past, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is threatening to not run for re-election. This theatrical move is pulled out of his bag of tricks to show the west that he is so frustrated by lack of progress in the peace process (read: lack of unilateral concessions by Israel), that he is willing to throw all into chaos if he doesn’t get his way.
Instead of giving him the option of reneging on his threat once again, Palestinians should confirm his decision by sending him home jobless. After all, he has failed completely in the three most important missions with which he has been charged:
First, he has failed to rid the PA of the rampant corruption he inherited from his predecessor, Yaser Arafat. The PA still runs on a system of bribery, nepotism and favors. Despite being the recipient of more international aid than anyone else in the world, the PA has nothing to show for it. Abbas’ old guard consists of many of Arafat’s old cronies (including Abbas himself), and for a time, their shenanigans caused many Palestinians to support Hamas over the PA. That stopped, of course, when they saw how brutal life is like under Hamas in Gaza. Abbas’ old boys preclude young Palestinians from any positions of power.
Second, he has failed to pose a threat of any kind to Hamas in Gaza. As long as Hamas’ reign of terror continues there, no hope exists for a better life for its residents, and no hope exists to move the peace process forward, regardless of Abbas’ theatrics. Hamas won't make peace with Israel, and how can Israel make peace with only half of would-be Palestine?
Finally, he has failed in his mission to bring statehood to the Palestinian arab people. While conditions have improved in the West Bank, due largely to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plan of economic growth there, Abbas has lacked the courage and ability to put together the institutions and infrastructure necessary for statehood, despite ample opportunity and funding. Then again, while we in the west see the establishment of statehood as his primary mission, is that the view of the Palestinians themselves? Poll after poll has shown that they are not yet ready to take the steps necessary to live in peace with Israel, such as giving up the so-called “right of return,” or recognizing that Israel is the legitimate state of the Jewish people.
Abbas has continued the long tradition of perpetuating statelessness as a preference over having a state next to, rather than in lieu of, Israel. In light of the attitude of most Palestinians, that might be why he has held on to his job as long has he has.