Biden will ‘make Abbas great again,’ says Israeli pundit

Arab affairs observer says while Biden supports the two-state solution and the Iran nuclear deal, he won’t be in a rush to restart peace talks.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

“We will see a series of processes to, shall we say, ‘Make Abbas great again’ – to revitalize him, to breathe life into him,” said Shimrit Meir, an observer of Arab affairs, of President-elect Joe Biden’s efforts on behalf of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

One of the goals might be to create a situation where Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will be “able to leave the political arena with dignity,” Meir said on Sunday in an interview with Radio 103 in Tel Aviv.

“Abbas needs an opportunity to leave the political arena, to end his journey with dignity and not as beaten and bruised, and as the one who brought the Palestinian issue to its most difficult strategic situation ever,” Meir said.

“This artificial respiration is something that the new U.S. administration can give” in order to keep the Palestinian Authority going as it has been crumbling under Abbas’ leadership.

Biden’s policy is the two-state solution and he will try to renew ties with the Iranians, but there’s not much chance of restarting Israeli-Palestinian talks in the near future, she believes.

“I think that in the matter of taking actual action, one has to really be looking for trouble when of all the things the [new] U.S. administration can and should do immediately would be to launch negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians when there is no feasibility [of it happening] from either side,” Meir said.

“We will indeed see a series of American steps to bring back economic aid [to the Palestinians], opening an American consulate in east Jerusalem that could be a source of conflict with the Israeli government, and there could be an invitation of a Palestinian representative to visit Washington,” she continued.

Meir said that Abbas took a huge gamble by taking a rejectionist position with the Trump administration, despite tremendous pressure from the Arab side, culminating in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain making separate peace treaties with Israel.

According to Meir, Abbas, who turns 85 next week and has no successor, can now tell the Palestinian public that everything he has told them all these years about standing firm against Trump was supposed to come true in eight years, but it came true after only four years and the PA leader should be given credit for it.

Meir also pointed out that Saudi Arabia may be in big trouble with a Biden administration, saying the Saudis did not yet welcome the projected Biden victory for several reasons.

“The Saudis have not yet congratulated [Biden] because of their gratitude to Trump. They are in huge trouble in Washington,” Meir said. “The left wing of the Democratic Party will demand dealing with the war in Yemen and an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia.”

“Biden himself spoke out against [Saudi Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Salman, who is not yet the king and is very vulnerable,” Meir said.