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Tuesday, June 13, 2017



It seems that at long last the West may finally be taking the measure of Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.

At the end of May, Norway demanded that the Palestinian Authority return the funds for a women's center because it was named for a female terrorist.

Last week, Denmark followed suit by also demanding that their funding for the center be returned.

Also in the beginning of June, Abbas admitted that Trump yelled at him his role in anti-Israel incitement.

photo
Mahmoud Abbas. Credit: Wikipedia

Meanwhile, both Russia and the Czech Republic have recognized Jerusalem (or at least West Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel -- a move that can be seen not only as pro-Israel, but to an extent opposed to Palestinian interests as well.

While there are signs that the West no longer gives Abbas a free ride, what about Hamas?

This year Hamas came out with a new policy document -- and immediately many in the media were claiming it was a new charter, with some going so far as to claim that Hamas no longer called for Israel's destruction. This is not the first time that the media has obediently followed Hamas' lead.

However, while Hamas has denied any connection to the tunnel found underneath 2 UNRWA schools in Gaza, the terrorist group has faced condemnations from the US, Israel and UNRWA -- but nothing more than that.

Of course, what other measures other than condemnation would the West take against Hamas?
After all, the fortunes of Hamas seem to have taken a downturn without any outside help:
o Abbas has made cuts in the salaries of Gazan employees.
o The Palestinian Authority stopped paying Israel to supply electricity to Gaza.
o Israel has gone along and has cut off electricity to Gaza.
o Qatar's isolation among Arab states puts their support of Hamas in jeopardy
But now, in reaction to the discover of the tunnel under the schools, Netanayhu has called for dismanteling UNRWA:
“It is time UNRWA be dismantled and merged with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,” Netanyahu said.

Referring to a meeting he held in Jerusalem on Wednesday with Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, Netanyahu said: “I told her it was time the United Nations re-examine UNRWA's existence.”
photo


While the UN, let along UNRWA itself, is unlikely to willingly go along, the one card that the West holds despite the collective power of the Arab countries and their allies is funding. And while in the past, holding back funding has been more of a threat -- that threat has become something that has begun to be taken a little more seriously.

There are no bold strokes here and only the slightest of promises of a possible turning of a corner.

This is not the first time that there seemed to be a potential for real change and improvement in the Middle East. There was a point when it appeared that George W. Bush was successfully pushing democracy in the Middle East. There was a time when we people spoke optimistically about the Arab Spring.

But for all the unpredictability of the new Trump era, even with the apparent broken promise of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, Israel continues to prove itself less isolated than her enemies like to think. And even as Israel's enemies grow stronger, new alliances are forming in unexpected places.



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