So much can change in a few days. Just this week I was convinced that Benjamin Netanyahu was walking into the lion’s den, with Mahmoud Abbas safely tucked away in the stands. But now Abbas has jumped the barrier, and signed a reconciliation agreement with Hamas.
Abbas claims that Hamas will play little to no role in the negotiations with Israel. This is probably true, and Hamas is desperate enough to agree. They’ve been cornered off by Sisi’s Egypt and cut off from the Iranians who now prefer to fund and arm Islamic Jihad (IJ). Hamas has lost every geopolitical bet since 2011, and have suffered dearly as a result.
But the biggest loser of all is Abbas, who had the opportunity to walk away the victor. Now he shares the blame with Netanyahu for the failure of these talks.
Abbas traded victory in the blame game for what is likely to be a fleeting moment of popularity. He will regret, and likely sooner than later.