Reprinted from Ramzy Baroud Website
"We won't act like them, we will not use violence or force, we are peaceful, we believe in peace, in peaceful popular resistance." This was part of a message issued by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in October, only days after a few incidents took place in which Palestinian youth were accused of attacking Israeli soldiers and settlers with knives.
The message would have carried some weight were it not laden with contradictions. On one hand, Abbas' supposed "peace" quest has only entrenched the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank, and all but completely isolated illegally occupied and annexed East Jerusalem.
Moreover, what "peaceful popular resistance" is Abbas, 80, referring to? What war of "peaceful" national liberation has he been leading? And how could a leader, ever so unpopular, be leading a "popular resistance" anyway?
Just two weeks before Abbas made that statement in which he referred to some illusory "popular resistance" under his command, a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah revealed that a majority of Palestinians, 65% of respondents, want him to resign.
Of course, while Abbas continues to prophesize about some non-existent peace -- as he has done for most of his lucrative career -- Israel continues to wreak havoc on Palestinians, using every means of violence at its disposal.
Granted, Israel's propensity to maintain its violent occupation cannot be blamed on Abbas. It is Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his right wing coalition that should be blamed squarely for the Occupation, the mistreatment and humiliation of Palestinians on a daily basis.
However, such truth should not detract from Abbas' terrible legacy and ongoing misconduct. In fact, some urgent questions must be asked in that regard:
If Abbas is such a peacenik, why is his military budget so disproportionately large?
According to information published by Visualizing Palestine, 31% of the PA budget is spent on the military and policing of the West Bank. Compare this to 18% on education, 13% on health and only 1% on agriculture. The latter percentage is particularly troubling, considering that Palestinian land, orchards and olive groves are the main target for Israel, which usurps the land in order to expand its military zones and illegal settlements.
The huge discrepancy between funds allocated to Palestinian security forces -- which never confront Israel's military occupation, only Palestinian Resistance -- and those spent to assist farmers in their "sumoud" (steadfastness) while their land is being targeted and confiscated daily, is a testament to the mixed priorities of Abbas and his Authority.
Even Israel, which is obsessed with its security, and manages several fronts of war and military occupation spends only 22% of its total budget on the military, which is still quite high by average standards.
Abbas' "peace" is, of course, quite selective. He rules over Occupied Palestinians with an iron fist, rarely tolerates dissent within his party, Fatah's, ranks, and has done his utmost to isolate Gaza and sustain a state of conflict with his enemies in the Hamas movement.
More recently, and due to mere criticism levelled at him by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a prominent Palestinian faction and PLO member, Abbas decided to choke them of funds. In Abbas' "peaceful" world, there is zero room for tolerance.
The PFLP criticism was a response to statements he made on Israeli television.
In a recent interview, he insisted that security coordination with Israel is a top priority for him. Without such coordination, the PA will find itself "on the brink of collapse," he told Israel Channel 2 on March 31.
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