The rapturous applause that greeted Mahmoud Abbas, appearing before the U.N. General Assembly in his role as chairman of the PLO, was deceiving. The collection of states that swooned when he mentioned Yasser Arafat’s 1974 appearance in the same hall will never give him a state — nor even the foreign-aid money to pay his delegation’s hotel bills.
His statehood project depends on Israel and the United States, and to a lesser extent on the Europeans (and a bit of Gulf Arab financing). His U.N. gambit has annoyed or offended all of those parties. The Saudi gift of $200 million last week to support the Palestinian Authority was handed, precisely, to the PA and to its prime minister, Salam Fayyad, as a show of confidence in him and his institution-building work, bypassing Abbas and his PLO cronies.
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