With the Israeli-occupied West Bank once again in turmoil after the latest bloodshed this week, uncertainty has deepened over the position of 87-year-old Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with a negotiated peace looking as unlikely as ever.
A gunbattle on Monday in which seven Palestinians were killed and over 90 wounded, followed a day later by the killing of four Israelis and a rampage by Israeli settlers through Palestinian towns, again underscored the West Bank’s volatility.
It also laid bare the weakness of the Palestinian Authority (PA)in the face of the hundreds of Palestinian militants in flashpoint cities like Jenin and Nablus, and the expansion of Israeli settlements that further dims Palestinian dreams of a state on land Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
Set up 30 years ago as part of interim peace accords with Israel that Abbas helped craft, the PA has seen its popularity shrivel amid allegations of graft, incompetence and widely hated security cooperation arrangements with Israel.
A rambling speech at the United Nations last month spawned a wave of mocking TikTok memes after Abbas repeatedly appealed to the world to “Protect us!”