Briefing | Abbas: in search of a new strategy

This briefing explains the state of affairs between the US administration, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Israeli government in light of recent events in the region, including US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the heightened risk of conflict in Gaza, and the stalled reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

Key Points:

  • Since Trump’s Jerusalem announcement the PA has essentially “checked out” of the US-led peace process. The mindset of the Palestinian leadership is that they do not want to return to negotiations.
  • The US administration continues to work on its plan and has an implicit assumption – that may prove to be incorrect – that the Palestinians can be brought back into the process.
  • Abbas has returned to the route of “internationalising the conflict” – launching an international campaign for broad recognition of Palestinian statehood, with a focus on Europe. It will be challenging to prevent Abbas from pushing this agenda, with the Arab states and Europeans possessing limited leverage over him.
  • In the meantime, the US and international community should focus on alternative plans to improve the situation on the ground in Gaza, which is suffering from the collapse of basic infrastructure and the stalled Palestinian reconciliation process. External stakeholders – especially the US and the EU – should seize the initiative and move ahead.

The full briefing is available as a PDF below.

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