Abbas on the Ropes

How the Next U.S. Administration Could Add to His Problems

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a joint news conference with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Jericho, November 2016. Mohamad Torokman / REUTERS

For most of his 12 years as president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas has enjoyed the White House’s full-throated backing. The administration of George W. Bush, which supported Abbas’ appointment as prime minister in 2003 and lauded his rise to the presidency in 2005, showered his government with material aid and pledges of political support. Barack Obama, who called Abbas on his first day as U.S. president, launched two rounds of peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians and allowed Abbas to consolidate power at home.

Now Abbas must deal with the likelihood that the next U.S. administration may be hostile to his government, given the Donald Trump team’s insistence on moving the United States’ embassy to Jerusalem and Congress’ threats to rescind aid to the PA. The months ahead will thus bring new challenges to Abbas’ political position from abroad just as he faces deep

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