Islamic Jihad flexes muscles in Palestinian Authority as Abbas fears to challenge

Analysts believe Abbas is getting weaker politically after he cut security cooperation with Israel.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

Fearing backlash from the Palestinian people, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did not intervene when Islamic Jihad staged raucous rallies in Judea and Samaria this week.

To honor the recent death of leader Ramadan Shalah, wild rallies were held in Bethlehem and in Jenin on Monday and Wednesday with supporters waving flags and shooting bullets in the air.

Even though the PA is in conflict with both Islamic Jihad and Hamas ever since being booted from the Gaza Strip in 2007, nothing was done to stop the processions.

Analysts say the Palestinian leader is weaker after having cut security cooperation with Israel in May and couldn’t afford being seen as the one breaking Palestinian unity.

Palestinians are also losing faith in Palestinian leadership for not taking stronger action against Israel over the years, says Abdul Majeed Swailem, a professor of regional studies at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem.

“The PA is in real trouble. What can the Palestinian leadership tell the people? They have not produced any real, tangible steps in the 25 years since the signing of the Oslo Accords,” he told The Media Line.

Shelah also questioned if the Arab states, who are preoccupied with the Iranian threat, will oppose Israeli annexation of Judea and Samaria because they cannot afford to lose the support of the U.S., which backs Israel’s efforts.

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“Their alliance with the United States may be so urgent that they are not prepared for a confrontation with Washington on this plan. And with their priority being the Iranian issue, it may compel them to pursue cautious and non-confrontational policies, as they may be powerless [to face off against the U.S. [regarding Israel],” Swailem said.