Al-Arabiya TV Director-General Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed has slammed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over his insistence of a construction freeze in the West Bank.
In his column in the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper, al-Rashed claimed that this insistence bolstered Netanyahu's government and even led to the US democratic party's defeat in the Congressional midterm elections.
Al-Rashed is considered an influential figure in the Arab world and holds unconventional liberal views. In his article, titled "The Palestinian president's gifts," al-Rashed accused Abbas of a political failure which is enabling Netanyahu to "evade the negotiations he has been fearing."
"In exchange for 90 days of construction freeze the Palestinian president gave Israel 20 fighter jets, $20 billion and has prompted Jewish donors around the world to support the construction of houses and apartments in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem," he wrote. "Had it not been for the freeze terms, the Israelis might not have won all this. The Palestinian side fell victim to the illusion that halting settlement building is beneficial."
'Abbas encouraged the Jews to support settlements' (Photo: Reuters)
Al-Rashed also claimed that the American support of Abbas played a part in the current political crisis US President Barack Obama is immersed in. "One of Abbas's achievements is the democratic party's defeat in the recent elections. The party lost the support of American Jews for what they called 'Obama's extreme attitude towards Israel.'"
"And all this for what? Not returning the West Bank or salvaging occupied Jerusalem and not even returning several thousands of Palestinian refugees to their homes. The whole campaign boils down to the insistence to freeze the construction of houses and apartments in the settlements."
Lesson in shrewdness
Al-Rashed praised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the situation. "If you want a lesson in shrewdness – watch Netanyahu. He has turned the problem into lucrative commodity.
"Since insisting on this condition, Abbas has struck four achievements: He exempted Netanyahu of the talks he feared, he kept the Americans concerned with minor issues during Obama's two most important years, he encouraged radical Jews to support settlements and caused Obama to change his stance - instead of punishing Netanyahu, he rewarded him. All this in order to suspend construction in several settlements for a while."
The biggest tragedy, the journalist said, was that the move had turned Netanyahu into "a hero among the Israeli people and many of the Jews around the world, for he has said 'no' to Obama.
"He beat the Palestinians without one bullet or any negotiations. Netanyahu regained power with a weak government which was not expected to last more than a few months. Now he's a significant political leader. Can anyone tell us what the great people of Ramallah are planning?"
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