Abbas Wants Annexation

There is one person who can stop Israel from annexing settlements and large swathes of the West Bank, which is scheduled to happen on July 1, and that is Mahmoud Abbas. It wouldn’t require much effort on the Palestinian president’s part. All he needs to do is call, text or email the White House to request a meeting with President Donald Trump at which he announces his willingness to resume peace talks with Israel on the basis of the “deal of the century.” After a message like that, Trump will almost certainly ask Benjamin Netanyahu to freeze the annexation and enter into negotiations for a detailed final status accord, at the end of which a Palestinian state would be established.

But Abbas is settling for issuing the usual denouncements of Israel and the United States and the same old empty threats about “ceasing security cooperation” in the West Bank. He shows no sign, not a hint, no willingness to return to the negotiating table in return for halting the annexation. Israeli and American officials are drawing up a map of the territory to be annexed from the West Bank to Israel without involving any Palestinian in the discussion, and Abbas doesn’t care. He will only study the map after it is completed and published, rather than request consideration from the outset.