Supporters of the Palestinian Hamas movement hold crossed-out portraits of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas during a protest against the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on 14 April 2017 (photo: picture-alliance/dpa/I. Khatib)
Music to Abbas′s ears: "undoubtedly, Trump′s opening remarks boosted Abbas′ ego at a time when he is suffering a deep legitimacy crisis at home, criticised by the Palestinian people for leading the Palestinian polity into authoritarianism – mainly through sub-contracting repression – and for solidifying the foundation of a Palestinian police state under Israeli military occupation," observes Tartir

Dubious partnership

The conditionality of security arrangements and counter-terrorism were at the core of Trump′s remarks, which is in line with the Israeli demands and the donor-imposed Palestinian Authority (PA) security doctrine.

Trump stated clearly, ″we must continue to build our partnership with the Palestinian security forces to counter and defeat terrorism.″ Trump added, ″They [Palestinian and Israeli security establishments] get along unbelievably well… They work together beautifully″ – a statement that outraged many Palestinians.Unsurprisingly, Abbas nodded his head in agreement throughout the press conference as he views security co-ordination as a ″Palestinian national interest″ and as a ″sacred″ doctrine.

However, in reality, this translates to a partnership that aims to criminalise Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation. It's a partnership that aims to empower the dominance of the PA security establishment and forces, positioning them as repressive bodies presiding over the Palestinian people and their struggle for self-determination.

This partnership further manifests itself through the sponsorship of the authoritarian transformations that have accompanied the Palestinian state-building project, in particular over the last decade.

The majority of the Palestinian people reject this ″sacred″ security co-ordination between the PA and Israel, which has significantly contributed to the widening legitimacy gap between the Palestinian people and the political and security elite.

But neither Abbas nor Trump care enough about the aspirations and demands of the Palestinian people. Both presidents fail to understand that, first and foremost, a lasting and meaningful peace agreement is not possible without the approval and endorsement of the people. Achieving peace, contrary to what Trump and Abbas claim, is more complex than a merely signing ″a document″.

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