The split between the Palestinians and Arab states
Oct 22, 2020 | AIJAC staff
Update from AIJAC
This Update deals with the apparent disenchantment with the Palestinians and their cause in large parts of the Arab world, and the Palestinian turn to non-Arab states for patronage, especially Turkey and its allies, and to a lesser extent Iran. Much analysis of this apparent split has been written in the wake of a very frank interview on October 6 by Prince Bandar bin Sultan – Saudi Arabia’s former ambassador to the US and director-general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency – who was very critical of the Palestinian leadership, past and present.
We lead with veteran American Middle East mediator Dennis Ross, who draws on his long history of dealing with both Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and Arab state leaders to analyse the current split. He explains that Bandar and other Arab leaders privately expressed dismay at Palestinian rejectionism, such as after the 2000 negotiations, but would not speak out publicly. Ross argues that this reticence actually did the Palestinians no favours, preventing their leadership from learning from their mistakes. He also suggests Arab states, if they adopt the new approach represented by the UAE and Bahrain peace deals, and comments like Bandar’s, can use normalisation with Israel to create concrete achievements for the Palestinians. For all the insights of a very experienced Middle East diplomat and peacemaker, CLICK HERE.
Next up, veteran Arab affairs journalist Khaled Abu Toameh documents how Bandar’s comments unleashed an explosion of expressions of similar sentiments about the Palestinians in both Saudi media and that of other Gulf states. He cites numerous columnists and analysts calling for new Palestinian leadership and complaining about Palestinian ingratitude for past support and misuse of financial aid. Abu Toameh suggests that all of this is evidence that the Palestinians are “on very thin ice”, not only with the Saudis, but across the Arab world. For all the details, CLICK HERE.
Finally, we offer some views about the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to seek reconciliation with Hamas via mediation by Turkey and its ally, Qatar, from Palestinian scholar Gaith al-Omari. Al-Omari. who served as an advisor to Palestinian negotiating teams in the past, argues this a risky move, and that Turkey and Qatar cannot offer the same financial and political support the Palestinians have traditionally received from their Arab allies. He says the current course could not only increase the Palestinians’ international isolation, but strengthen Hamas at the expense of the PA, and he suggests key Arab states need to strongly warn Ramallah about the costs of what they are currently doing. For al-Omari’s complete argument, CLICK HERE.
Readers may also be interested in…
- Palestinian leaders have been accusing worshippers from Gulf states visiting Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque of “desecrating” or “storming” the holy site.
- Khaled Abu Toameh reports on Arab responses to an apparent threat by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that some Arab states “may not exist in the future.”
- Some more examples of Arab writers and analysts publicly calling for rethinking old tropes about Israel and the Palestinians – here, here and here.
- Michelle Waldman Sarna, the wife of the Chief Rabbi of the UAE, writes about the reception that she and other Jews have received in that country.
- An unconfirmed report that Sudan is set to announce normalisation of relations with Israel by this weekend.
- The IDF finds a new terror tunnel from Gaza into Israel.
- Some examples from the many stories and comments now appearing at AIJAC’s daily “Fresh AIR” blog:
- AIJAC’s Naomi Levin in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph on the spread of the QAnon conspiracy theory to Australia.
- Oved Lobel and Allon Lee dissect how Australia is set to leave the UN Human Rights Council at the end of the year – while numerous serial human rights abusers like China, Russia and Cuba will take up seats on the Council.
- A short excerpt from AIJAC’s webinar with Mark Regev, international media spokesperson for Israeli PM Netanyahu and former Israeli Ambassador to the UK.
Bandar speaks out: the changing landscape in the Mideast
BY DENNIS ROSS
The Hill, 10/19/20
Shortly before we presented the Clinton parameters on peace to the Israelis and Palestinians in December 2000, I briefed Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to America. Once presented, I wanted Saudi Arabia to urge then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to accept our bridging proposal to end the conflict. Bandar’s response is etched in my memory: “If Arafat rejects this, it won’t be a mistake, it will be a crime.”
Bandar said this privately to me.
After Arafat rejected the Clinton parameters, other Arab officials echoed similar, if less dramatic, views to me. But none were prepared to say anything publicly. None were prepared openly to criticize the Arafat decision or counter the Palestinian story misrepresenting what had been offered.
That was then — when the Palestinians could portray the diplomacy one way, and leading Arab figures would not challenge their story, even when they knew it was wrong.
But this is now, and the Middle Eastern landscape is changing when it comes to the Palestinian cause.
What was unthinkable before is no longer; the fear that Palestinians could arouse opposition to Arab leaders by claiming they were betraying Palestinian national aspirations is gone.
Last week Bandar bin Sultan — in a three-part interview on al Arabiya network, speaking to a Saudi and regional audience — engaged in truth-telling about the historic failures of the Palestinian leadership. From declaring that Palestinian leaders “always pick the wrong side” to bemoaning that “there were always opportunities, but they were always lost,” he debunked the Palestinian narrative. He spoke of the constant divisions among Palestinians and how the Saudi kingdom “had justified to the whole world the actions of Palestinians” even when “we knew, indeed, [they] were not justified.”
But Saudi Arabia did so because, in Bandar’s words, they did not “wish to stand with anyone against them, nor did we wish to see the consequences of their actions reflected on the Palestinian peoples.” In other words, Saudi Arabia stood by Palestinian leaders even when they were wrong, producing in Bandar’s words, Palestinian “indifference” and a belief that “there is no price to pay for any mistakes they commit.”
The Saudis and others did the Palestinians no favors. If Palestinian leaders never had to acknowledge their mistakes or account for why they missed opportunities, they were never going to learn lessons and adjust their behavior. But their negotiators knew. This past year, one former Palestinian negotiator, despairing about the current reality, wistfully said to me, “Can you imagine where we would be if we had accepted the Clinton parameters?”
Yasser Arafat and Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd in 2000. According to Bandar, the Saudis knew Palestinian actions were not justified, but until recently, supported them anyway.
Bandar’s message was clear: We won’t cover for you any longer, and we have our own needs. As he put it: “In my personal opinion, with all the events that have taken place around the world, we are at a stage in which rather than being concerned with how to face Israeli challenges in order to serve the Palestinian cause, we have to pay attention to our national security and interests.”
The same logic motivated the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to formalize peace with Israel now. No longer would the Emirates allow the Palestinians to deny them what they saw as being in their interests — and, given the health and economic challenges of COVID-19, drought conditions that threaten water and food security needs, and security threats from Iran, its Shia militia proxies and radical Sunni Islamists, other Arab states will follow the Emirates’ example.
Regrettably, the Palestinian reaction to the Emirates was to fall back on old tropes — they betrayed us, it was a stab in the back. Palestinians resent Israel getting what it wants while they remain under occupation, but they are ignoring that the Emirates created linkage: Normalization was conditioned on Israel not annexing the territories allotted to it in the Trump plan. True, Emirate linkage was designed to prevent a negative Israeli action, but other Arab states can press for positive Israeli moves toward the Palestinians in return for their taking normalizing steps.
Depending on the scope of normalization, these steps can range from the practical and the tangible (like approving water and waste water treatment projects) to more political and symbolic ones (like expanding the area of the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority’s control, or stopping Israeli settlement construction to the east of the security barrier, meaning in 92 percent of the territory).
While the Bandar revelations appear to be setting the stage for Saudi moves toward Israel, the Saudi kingdom is unlikely to make one big leap. The Emirates didn’t; they built their relations with Israel over the last decade, starting quietly and beginning more public outreach in 2015 with the opening of an Israeli diplomatic presence in the International Renewable Energy Agency’s office in Abu Dhabi.
In all likelihood, the bigger Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Morocco will move in stages, and the Palestinians can gain from that. But they have to play. They cannot repeat their historical pattern of always rejecting the openings of others (such as Egypt and the UAE) and aligning with those who reject them — Saddam Hussein in response to Sadat’s peace, Turkey and Iran in response to the UAE today.
If the Palestinians choose wrong again, they will be left behind.
Their loss won’t be a win for Israel because the Palestinians are not going anywhere; Israel will still have a Palestinian problem.
A smart U.S. policy would be to broker Arab outreach to Israel, Israeli steps to Palestinians in response, and use that to restore a sense of possibility. In the end, Bandar will have done Palestinians a favor if he forces them to look in the mirror and realize it is time to choose correctly.
Dennis Ross is counselor and the William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He served as special assistant to President Obama, as Special Middle East Coordinator under President Clinton, and as director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff in the first Bush administration. He is the author, with David Makovsky, of Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel’s Most Important Leaders Shaped Its Destiny. Follow him on Twitter @AmbDennisRoss.
Saudi Arabia: We, Too, Are Fed Up with the Palestinians
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Gatestone Institute, October 12, 2020
- Many Saudis and other Gulf citizens expressed support for Prince Bandar bin Abdulaziz’s criticism of the Palestinians, with some saying the time has come for a new Palestinian leadership that prioritizes its people’s interests and does not pocket the financial aid sent to them by the Arab countries and the West.
- “Palestinian leaders stole the aid sent to the Palestinian people and built mansions in Washington, Paris and London, while ignoring the suffering of their people.” — Saudi political analyst Abdel Rahman Al-Mulhem, Al-Yaum, October 9, 2020
- According to Fahd Al-Shoqiran, a Saudi researcher and columnist, Palestinians “must be reminded that the hundreds of billions of money their leaders received to support their cause from Saudi Arabia throughout its history were capable of building the Palestinians huge cities.” Instead, Al-Shoqiran said, Palestinian leaders used the money to buy private planes and luxurious buildings in Europe and the US… “The prince’s speech was clear, direct, accurate and frank. The speech is a wake-up call. Things have changed….
- What is evident, meanwhile, is that, where Saudi Arabia is concerned, the Palestinians are on very thin ice. In fact, they may wake up to discover that the ice is melting all over the Arab world.
Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz’s scathing and unprecedented attack on the Palestinian leadership, during an interview aired by Saudi Al-Arabiya television station on October 6, adds Saudi Arabia and its citizens to the growing list of Arabs who regard the Palestinians as “ungrateful.”During the interview, the prince, a former Saudi ambassador to the US, said that “the Palestinian cause is a just cause, but its advocates are failures, and the Israeli cause is unjust, but its advocates have proven to be successful.”
He accused the Palestinians of cozying up to Saudi Arabia’s foes, Iran and Turkey, and criticized them for accusing the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain of betrayal for agreeing to establish relations with Israel.” He also accused the Palestinians of “ingratitude or lack of loyalty” toward Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries that supported them for decades.
After the interview, many Saudis and other Gulf citizens expressed support for Prince Bandar bin Abdulaziz’s criticism of the Palestinians, with some saying the time has come for a new Palestinian leadership that prioritizes its people’s interests and does not pocket the financial aid sent to them by the Arab countries and the West.
UAE columnist and analyst Abdullah Nasser Al-Otaibi.
“I believe that the time has come to form a permanent Arab committee under the umbrella of the Arab League to manage the Palestinian issue and conduct face-to-face dialogue with Israel,” said Emirati columnist and political analyst Abdullah Nasser Al-Otaibi. “Today, after this very revealing and frank talk (by the Saudi prince), I strongly believe in the need for the Arabs to find a way to manage the Palestinian issue.”
Al-Otaibi is one of several Arab commentators who have recently talked about the need for the Arab countries to take matters into their own hands and try to solve the Israeli-Arab conflict without involving the failed and corrupt Palestinian leadership. This is a demand that no Arab has dared to make in the past few decades. It demonstrates that a growing number of Arabs believe that there can be no solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict as long as the current Palestinian leadership remains in power.
Saudi political analyst Fahim Al-Hamid noted that over the past several decades, the Palestinians have missed many opportunities to find a solution to their conflict with Israel.
Referring to the ongoing power struggle between the Palestinian ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Al-Hamid accused the two parties of ‘trafficking” in the Palestinian issue.
Saudi political analyst Fahim Al-Hamid
“When Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, it was possible for the Palestinians to seize the opportunity to achieve more gains,” he wrote.
“Hamas, however, refused to unite the Palestinians and established the foundations for the beginning of the division between the Palestinians. Instead, Hamas sought to raise funds from Turkey, Qatar and Iran.”
Praising Prince Bandar’s statements, Al-Hamid added:
“It is unfortunate that the Palestinian brothers have traded in their issue for more than 60 years and insisted on not compromising, sabotaging negotiations and rejecting all peace initiatives. The time for trafficking in the concerns of the Palestinian people is over. The interest of the people in Gaza and the West Bank requires the intervention of rational Arabs to achieve comprehensive peace in the region. We tell the Palestinians what (US) President (Abraham) Lincoln said: ‘You can fool all the people some of the time and some people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.'”
Saudi columnist Mohammed Al-Saaed, echoing Prince Bandar bin Abdulaziz’s criticism, refuted Palestinian claims that they do not meddle in the internal affairs of Arab countries:
“Over the past six decades, the Palestinians have presented themselves as being neutral on Arab issues. However, they [Palestinians] have turned themselves into puppets in the hands of Qatar, Turkey and Iran. The Palestinians have practiced systematic terror against most Arab countries and directed their guns and bombs against the Arabs.”
Al-Saaed said that the Palestinians have also been engaging in another form of terrorism: extorting money from the Arabs “or else they count you as hostile (to the Palestinians). We must not forget their terrorist operations against consulates and embassies, assassinations of Saudi figures, as well as the hijacking and bombing of airplanes.”
Saudi columnist Mohammed Al-Saaed
He went on to accuse the Palestinians of insulting Saudi Arabia by burning its flags and pictures of its leaders and publishing offensive cartoons in media outlets run by members of Fatah and Hamas. Al-Saaed added:
“Saudi Arabia only wants (the Palestinians) to stop hurting the kingdom and its citizens. The Palestinians must be aware that the popular mood on the Saudi street is no longer able to tolerate these abuses. The Palestinian leadership must take a rational position before losing Saudi Arabia’s support.”
Saudi political analyst Abdel Rahman Al-Mulhem praised the Saudi prince for exposing the Palestinian leadership failures. “The masks have fallen and the truth has been revealed,” Al-Mulhem wrote. “Palestinian leaders could have ended the tragedy of the Palestinian people by accepting United Nations Resolution 242,” he said, referring to the November 22, 1967 resolution that talked about “the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security and peace within recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”
Al-Mulhem said he fully agreed with the Saudi prince’s assertion that Palestinian leaders do not want to end the conflict with Israel because they want to preserve their personal interests, and added:
“Palestinian leaders missed many opportunities that could have ended the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but they squandered these opportunities so that they could continue to trade in the Palestinian issue… Palestinian leaders have chosen to align themselves with Iran, the No. 1 enemy of the Arab nation. What has Iran done for Palestine since 1979? Iran is a terrorist country. Terrorism only breeds terrorism. Palestinian leaders stole the aid sent to the Palestinian people and built mansions in Washington, Paris and London, while ignoring the suffering of their people.”
Commenting on the Saudi prince’s statements about the Palestinian leadership’s corruption and ineptitude, Fahd Al-Shoqiran, a Saudi researcher and columnist, wrote that the Palestinians “must be reminded that the hundreds of billions of money their leaders received to support their cause from Saudi Arabia throughout its history were capable of building the Palestinians huge cities.”
Instead, Al-Shoqiran said, Palestinian leaders used the money to buy private planes and luxurious buildings in Europe and the US. “For the Palestinian leaders, the Palestinian issue is just an investment project that generates huge profits,” he said.
“That’s why the talk about the need for an efficient alternative political leadership causes them to panic. The prince’s speech was clear, direct, accurate and frank. The speech is a wake-up call. Things have changed, and whoever wants a solution should seek ways to achieve one.”
Palestinian leaders, meanwhile, appear to be afraid of responding to the serious charges made by Prince Bandar bin Abdulaziz.
These leaders have not sent their people to the streets to burn Saudi flags in protest of the criticism made by the prince and other Saudis.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his officials are well aware that, unlike the UAE or Bahrain, Saudi Arabia is a large and extremely powerful country. They also know that losing the support of Saudi Arabia would mean forfeiting the backing of several other Arab countries closely associated with the kingdom.
The latest Saudi media onslaught against the Palestinians could be seen as a prelude for Saudi Arabia following suit with the UAE and Bahrain by establishing relations with Israel. What is evident, meanwhile, is that, where Saudi Arabia is concerned, the Palestinians are on very thin ice. In fact, they may wake up to discover that the ice is melting all over the Arab world.
Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.
Risks of the Palestinian Authority’s Outreach to Qatar and Turkey
October 13, 2020
Recent gestures, which have included reconciliation talks with Hamas, could strengthen the PA’s Gaza-based rival, further strain relations with its traditional Arab allies, and spur elections with destabilizing results.
Fatah and Hamas delegations meeting in Turkey in late September.
The announcement of the normalization agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel on August 13, 2020, triggered a flurry of Palestinian Authority (PA) activities that seem to be bringing it closer to its rival Hamas and to the latter’s backers in Turkey and Qatar. These activities are intended by the PA to tactically signal its displeasure to the UAE and Bahrain, and to create a sense of motion as it awaits the results of the upcoming U.S. election. These steps, however, may have significant implications that could stretch the PA’s already strained relations with its traditional Arab allies to a breaking point, strengthen Hamas’s hand, and create dynamics that could force the PA into elections with destabilizing results.
Shortly after the announcement of UAE-Israel normalization, PA leaders launched an intensive engagement with Qatar and Turkey—two countries locked in adversarial relations with the PA’s traditional allies in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and, to a lesser extent, Jordan. Palestine Liberation Organization secretary-general Saeb Erekat called Qatari foreign minister Muhammad bin Abdulrahman al-Thani on August 20; a few days later, on August 24, PA president Mahmoud Abbas confidant Hussein al-Sheikh visited Doha to explore ways to reinforce Qatari support, including financial assistance, for the PA. For his part, Abbas called Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on August 22. A month later, on September 22, representatives of Fatah and Hamas met in Istanbul and announced a new reconciliation deal, and also agreed on holding parliamentary elections.
The rapprochement with Turkey and Qatar was paralleled by a series of steps that escalated tensions not only with the UAE and Bahrain but also with Saudi Arabia (through the tabling at the Arab League foreign ministers’ meeting of a proposal to condemn the UAE—a proposal that instead highlighted the PA’s isolation by failing to garner any Arab support); Egypt (by shifting sponsorship of reconciliation from Cairo to Istanbul, and most recently by the declaration as martyrs of two Gazan fishermen who were killed by the Egyptian navy); and even Jordan, possibly the PA’s last remaining Arab ally (by ignoring Jordanian entreaties to tone down the rhetoric and diplomatic activities against the UAE).
From Ramallah’s perspective, these moves are not intended as a strategic shift. Abbas is awaiting the results of the U.S. election in November to formulate his new strategy: be that reengaging with the United States through a likely reset by a Biden administration of U.S.-Palestinian policies, or finding a face-saving way to reestablish contacts with a new Trump administration.
There are strong reasons for the PA not to make such strategic shifts. Diplomatically, Qatar and Turkey are unable in the long term to substitute the financial and political support provided by the PA’s traditional Arab allies. Instead, the PA’s recent measures fit President Abbas’s modus operandi and mirror similar tactics that have worked for him in the past. For example, after the move of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Abbas intensified his contacts with Erdogan to pressure Saudi Arabia into taking a more robust position, after which the PA returned to Riyadh’s orbit.
Politically, Abbas’s enmity of Hamas is deep, and the root causes of the split—Hamas’s weapons arsenal and an irreconcilable disagreement on fundamental political platforms—remain unaddressed. Again, there is precedent to this approach vis-à-vis Hamas. In 2017, after agreeing to a reconciliation deal sponsored by Egypt, Abbas managed to find ways to avoid implementing it. Indeed, despite the recent announcement of the Fatah-Hamas agreement on holding elections, and in an effort to preserve some room for maneuver, Abbas has not as of this writing issued a formal decree calling for elections.
Rather than denoting a strategic shift, these maneuvers serve two purposes. First, they are meant to signal the PA’s displeasure toward the Arab reaction to the normalization deals, evident in the PA’s threat to move to an alternative axis in an effort to pressure those states. Second, they are a means of creating diplomatic and political motion, ultimately buying time until November.
Domestically, the reconciliation talks are aimed at satisfying a Palestinian public that is both angered by the normalization deals and frustrated with its own leadership’s lack of initiative. Additionally, those leading the efforts on either side have their own political objectives: Jibril Rajoub on the Fatah side hopes this will improve his standing in the contest to succeed Abbas, while Saleh al-Arouri of Hamas is positioning for the movement’s internal elections, which are slated for 2021.
Fatah official Jibril Rajoub (in the foreground), who has taken the lead in the Fatah-Hamas talks, may be using them to boost his standing in the contest to succeed PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Although the PA may see its recent moves as mere tactics, the results may end up severely limiting its strategic options and pushing it into a corner. Diplomatically, there is currently little patience in key Arab capitals for Palestinian leaders. Since the PA embarked on its vociferous campaign against the UAE and, later, Bahrain, Gulf—and, to a lesser extent, Egyptian—media outlets have been replete with articles attacking Palestinian officials. A recent lengthy interview by Al-Arabiya TV with former Saudi ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud was an unmistakable signal of Riyadh’s displeasure with PA leadership. Even Jordanian officials have privately expressed frustration with Abbas’s approach.
In such fraught circumstances, continued overtures to Ankara and Doha may well prompt Arab leaders to further downgrade their own relations with the PA, leaving Abbas with no way back to the fold and effectively forcing the PA closer to Turkey and Qatar. This situation could be further exacerbated if either Turkey or Qatar uses the Palestinian issue to stoke its rivalries with Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Domestically, reconciliation is generating its own momentum; thus, the further it proceeds, the higher the political cost for the PA to walk away from it. That momentum, coupled with pressure from Turkey and Qatar, may prove too strong for Abbas to resist holding elections. Holding elections without resolving the underlying causes of the rift—namely, commitment by all participants to the two-state solution, renouncing terrorism, and addressing Hamas’s militias—could deepen the Palestinians’ international isolation in a manner similar to that which followed the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council elections.
A scenario that sees the PA shifting toward the Turkey and Qatar axis could prove disruptive. Both states are close associates of Hamas. Qatar is the group’s main financial backer in Gaza—a role allowed by Israel to prevent a humanitarian and security collapse in the coastal strip—and hosts some of its leaders. Turkey provides political support to the movement and has reportedly gone so far as to grant some Hamas members Turkish passports. Furthermore, such a shift could weaken the moderating influence of the PA’s traditional allies. Loss of Arab financial support would intensify the economic crisis in the West Bank and lead to more volatility. In addition, reintroducing Hamas to the PA not only will cause the PA’s international isolation, but also could terminate Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation—a key reason for the relative security stability in the West Bank—and raise concerns in Jordan. Israel has already warned the PA about the implications of bringing Hamas back to the West Bank.
To avoid these outcomes, key Arab capitals—primarily Amman, Cairo, and Riyadh—need to send a clear message to Ramallah about the cost of its current trajectory, while engaging the PA on ways it can benefit from the new trend of Arab-Israeli normalization. Individually, Jordan and Egypt have already communicated their concerns to Ramallah, but with little impact, highlighting the need for a coordinated approach. Jordan, given its special relationship and leverage with the PA, can play the lead role in managing this exchange, but it can do so only with Saudi and Egyptian support.
There is little that the United States can do directly to impact these dynamics because the PA has severed all contacts with the Trump administration in protest of its policies, especially those regarding Jerusalem. For its part, the United States has already cut aid to the Palestinians and cannot use assistance as leverage. Washington should instead privately encourage its regional allies to adopt a coordinated approach.
Ghaith al-Omari is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute.