The Palestinian Authority (PA) and its Chairman Mahmoud Abbas essentially “checked out” of the US-led peace process after President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In fact, Abbas used that decision as a convenient excuse. He was afraid of the US peace plan coming his way, felt he would have to reject it—while Israel may say yes—and didn’t want to navigate that situation. That’s why he seized Trump’s announcement as an opportunity to say the US is no longer an honest broker and therefore cannot continue to serve as an exclusive mediator, and to turn to the alternative strategy (long preferred by him) of ‘internationalizing the conflict.’
By Michael Herzog is a Senior Visiting fellow at Israel and Middle East think tank BICOM and an international fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.