Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

By Mel Pearlman

All bets are off! Really?


On May 5, 2020, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, the body that governs the lives of more than 95 percent of the Arab population living In Judea and Samaria, made a speech in Arabic before an Arab audience. That speech was made in the presence of the international media and was posted to the Facebook page of Palestinian TV. Memri TV provided the English translation.

While a significant part of the speech was devoted to the pandemic and other issues, Mr. Abbas did use the opportunity to condemn the United States for proposing the Deal of the Century and Israel for accepting in principle its provisions as a basis for lasting peace and stability between the non-Israeli Arabs of Palestine and the Jewish State.

In his blanket condemnation of the Deal of the Century, he not only rejected outright the security and Palestinian statehood provisions of the proposal; he also rejected the built-in opportunity for economic prosperity for his people.

The deal included generous offers of aid from America and the surrounding Arab countries of more than $50 billion. Combining that with the economic growth and partnership envisioned between Israel and a demilitarized and democratic Palestinian state would amplify that amount many times over for both peoples.

Once and for all, the harsh poverty inflicted upon his people, brought about not by Israel, but by the terrorist government in Gaza and the despotic Palestinian Authority would be eliminated.

Peace, statehood and prosperity would finally be within the grasp of the Arabs living in Judea and Samaria. But instead of seizing the moment Abbas and his Palestinian Authority cling to the fantasy of eliminating the State of Israel and disgorging the Jewish people from their historic homeland.

From the moment of Israel’s existence, and even in the years before independence in the civil war that preceded the end of the British Mandate, the notion of compromise never entered the Palestinian Arab mind. Every concession made by a succession of both right wing and left wing Israel governments over the past 70 years has been rejected; and every attempt to militarily destroy the Jewish state has resulted in a stronger, more prosperous and expansive Israel.

Following this pattern of irrationality, Mr. Abbas in grand design is not even considering returning to the negotiating table with Israel to explore the possibility of a two-state solution using the Deal of the Century as a starting point for mutual concessions to finally bring peace and prosperity to the area. He has threatened to abrogate all agreements with the U.S.

With Israel’s almost certain annexation of the Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley, Abbas has threatened to also abrogate all agreements with Israel including security agreements which has protected him from the claws of Hamas and Hezbollah who would love nothing more than to remove him from power.

He has refused to accept tax payments from Israel collected from his own people and continues to subsidize captured or killed terrorists and their families with millions of dollars from foreign contributors while ignoring the needs of his own people.

Now, King Abdullah II of Jordan is chiming in with his vigorous opposition to the proposed annexation, warning Israel of grave consequences if the Jewish state annexes the Jewish towns and villages located in a small portion of the land recovered from Jordan’s illegal occupation of the so-called West Bank, which King Hussein, Abdullah’s father, abandoned to the Israeli victors in the Six Day War.

These are all empty threats since neither Abbas nor Abdullah would long survive without the unwritten protection they both enjoy from the U.S. and Israel.

We have seen these outbursts before, most recently with the U.S. embassy relocation to Jerusalem and the annexation of the Golan Heights.

Of course, these threats of intifada and other grave consequences, designed to frighten the West, never materialize since the last thing Abbas and King Abdullah II want is to antagonize their protectors and risk the economic cooperation indispensable to each leader’s survival.

So when the threats come that “all bets are off” regarding negotiations, security and economic cooperation the only response should be a tongue in cheek, “Really!”

If you wish to comment or respond you can reach me at melpearlman322@gmail.com. Please do so in a rational, thoughtful, respectful and civil manner.

Mel Pearlman holds B.S. & M.S. degrees in physics as well as a J.D. degree and initially came to Florida in 1966 to work on the Gemini and Apollo space programs. He has practiced law in Central Florida since 1972. He has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando; was a charter board member, first vice president and pro-bono legal counsel of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida, as well as holding many other community leadership positions.


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