Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas heads a fractured government and a fractured political party. His term expired four months ago. His handpicked prime minister, trusted to manage billions of dollars in foreign aid, is reviled by some Palestinians as a U.S. proxy.With all of those problems there is an even greater one. He and the Palestinians have nothing of value to offer the Israelis in return for allowing them a state. The PA has neither the will nor the means to stop attacks on Israel by various Palestinian factions. It would require a Palestinian civil war and no one on the Palestinian side is willing to fight other Palestinians to have a peace with Israel.
Whatever peace initiative President Obama envisions for the region, it involves a gamble that Abbas can overcome a long list of liabilities, put Palestinian politics back into one piece and hold up his side of any bargain. Abbas is to meet Obama at the White House tomorrow in a session that may be as much about ways to bolster the Palestinian leader as about Obama's broader strategy.
"When he is talking to the American administration, and the areas under his rule are divided, it does not bode well," said Rafiq Husseini, Abbas's chief of staff. "Despite the difficulties and despite the disunity within the Palestinian debate, he is still the president and he is still ready to reach a deal" with the Israelis, Husseini added.
For the time being Israel and the Palestinians are both better off with a no state solution for the Palestinians. If the idea is pushed it will only result in more attacks on Israel and more responses to those attacks from Israel.