The first quarter of 2018 saw the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas (hard-pressed and increasingly isolated of late), seeking support and political backing in the European Union’s capital. His move comes at a time in which the Trump administration is following through with its new approach to the Middle East conflict, in particular regarding the issue of Jerusalem. Years of Abbas’ evasive tactics and threats undercutting direct peace talks, as well as his unilateral actions in the UN undermined not only the possibility for peace, but took their toll on Mahmoud Abbas’ credibility as a partner for peace – at least in the eyes of the Americans.
After the United States had proclaimed their recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and their intent to move their embassy accordingly, Abbas shifted gears. His fury led him to verbally assault various US-leaders including the President, going as far as calling US-Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman “Son of a dog”.
The culmination of his undiplomatic rant against the U.S. was the cancellation of his planned meeting with American Vice-President, Mike Pence, in Ramallah this January. And while Pence was visiting Israel undeterred, proclaiming the U.S. Embassy move this May already as a timely present for Israel’s 70th birthday, Abbas travelled to Brussels to counterbalance this move by seeking recognition of the State of Palestine by the European Union.