Haaretz, Aug 28, 2017


There is nothing better for Israel’s security that having Abbas as the PA’s chairman. It’s reasonable to assume that whoever steps into his shoes will have to be more extreme with regard to Israel, both as a means of bolstering his standing and because Abbas’s position on security collaboration with Israel is unpopular among Palestinians. So why is the defense minister doing everything possible to weaken Abbas, even calling on one occasion to withhold the transfer of taxes Israel collects for the PA until he leaves his post?

One thing is clear: Lieberman’s attitude serves the interests of Mohammed Dahlan, the Palestinian who’s trying, with the assistance of big Arab money, to make a comeback. However, Dahlan’s record does not indicate that he’ll be better for Israel than Abbas. It’s also doubtful that Dahlan will adopt more flexible diplomatic positions. With regard to corruption, let’s put this gently: One might say that Lieberman will be able to get along better with him.

More importantly, it’s not clear that Dahlan has much chance of succeeding Abbas. His popular support is not great and his connection to people on the ground relies heavily on buying them out, whereas his potential rivals have been building more solid power bases.