Is recent Palestinian violence a harbinger of Abbas’ downfall?

“Everyone knows that the Abbas era is all but over. They’re just waiting for him to actually leave,” says Avi Issacharoff a frequently-quoted writer on Palestinian affairs.

By: Steve Leibowitz, World Israel News

While the TV series Avi Issacharoff co-wrote, “Fauda,” is an international hit, analysts have given mixed reviews to his recent article, “In the West Bank, a violent storm is brewing.”

Writing for Walla and the Times of Israel on Wednesday, Issacharoff commented, “With Palestinians losing faith in their leaders and lionizing terrorists, the post-Abbas era is shaping up to be tumultuous.”

Later in the article Issacharoff posited, “The stabbing attack near Carmei Tzur, as well as the rioting in recent days in Jenin, Burkin and … Nablus, reveal a great deal about the prevailing winds in the West Bank. These are reminiscent of the fateful days of December 1987 and October 2000, when the first and second intifadas broke out in the West Bank. This may be a sign of things to come as the reign of 82-year-old Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas comes to an end. In many ways, the relative calm that has largely marked his leadership has already begun to crumble.”

“Everyone knows that the Abbas era is all but over. They’re just waiting for him to actually leave. No one knows exactly what the ‘day after’ will look like, but there is a general consensus that it will be violent and tumultuous. Abbas’s regime is viewed with open hostility, and Hamas is gaining support,” Issacharoff wrote.

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Palestinian Affairs expert Yoni Ben Menachem from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs categorically rejected Issacharoff’s assertions. Ben Menachem told World Israel News (WIN), “There is no violent storm and Abbas is not leaving so soon. The current violence in the territories has nothing to do with Abbas. Hamas ordered the attack in Jenin and the murder of Itamar Ben Gal was a spontaneous stabbing attack. There is no trend. There are military orders from Hamas to carry out attacks in [Judea and Samaria].”

Some ‘smell the collapse’

Dr. Mordechai Kedar from Bar Ilan University told WIN, “Some already smell the collapse of Abbas although they do not know when this will take place or who will try to replace him. Rumors are rampant and some are trying to show their strength.”

“What we can see is a breakdown in order. Every night there are battles in Nablus between local clans and Palestinian Security forces. The Palestinian Authority could collapse within a few weeks of Abbas’ departure, one way or another. There is a combination of elements at work. More than half the population is under 25 and the lack of movement diplomatically is starting to impact them. Abbas is getting on in years and is not so healthy. He also cannot see a real way forward right now, and that weakens him, “ Kedar wrote.

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Palestinian Affairs expert Pinchas Inbari told WIN, “Abu Mazen [Abbas] is trying very hard to prevent violence. He is pressuring Fatah to stick to non-violent resistance while Hamas is ordering attacks. Abbas’ influence is fading out and not all are listening to him. In the Hebron area, Abbas is completely ignored. As a result, the IDF must go in daily and arrest Hamas activists planning attacks. The new element is the involvement of Iran in [Judea an Samaria]. They are sending in money. Iran has proxies that it employs, funding Hamas, the Popular Front and Islamic Jihad. Abbas is unable to control the funds. What is needed is better security cooperation with the Palestinian Security Services in order to push back against this Iranian penetration. Abbas is too weak to make that happen.”