If truth be told, the PA does not fancy an independent Palestine confined to the territory of the West Bank (Gaza is ruled by Hamas where the PA has no jurisdiction and no influence what so ever), nor do they desire an independent state status with a genuine, democratic state infrastructure. They are merely bluffing. They put on an act, pretending to yearn for an independent state. It's convenient, it's popular, it's enriching its ruling elite. They stick to the simple reality that getting there is much more fun than being there. And they intend to keep the road to independence longer than a thousand light years.
"It does not make any sense," you might say. "Why?" You might contest. "Isn't independence a preferred status to Israeli occupation?" You might pause to catch your breath, then continue, "And even if the PA does not wish for an independent state, what's the motive behind making us believe they do? And how do you explain their unilateral move toward an independent state?"
Let me tackle these important arguments by taking on the last challenge first.
The potential declaration of a Palestinian state by the PA will not create an existent Palestinian state. It will merely deepen the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; it may effect another round of Intifada (uprising). Israel will continue to occupy the Palestinian territories; the PA will continue to cry foul; the international anti-Israel propaganda machine will acquire new wings, powered by a fresh cause; the hate engine, the core (and maybe the solitary) force bringing about Arab unity, will reboot to a new phony morality. In short, a unilateral declaration of independence by the PA will yield no change to the actual status of the territory. It, nonetheless, will elevate the PA leadership to a hero standing, will solidify their eminence as bona fide freedom fighters, and will secure their leadership position. It's good politics—not an honest concern for the long-term well-being of their flock.
Furthermore, the PA is not prepared for running their own state. They lack basic infrastructure; they depend on Israel for the most basic needs like financial services, medical services, food, energy, even internal security. And Israel (rather than the PA) is obligated by international law to ensure that as an occupier it must provide for normal and healthy living of the residents in the occupied territories. And as long as the Palestinians remain "occupied", as long as they maintain the "poor refugee" image, the naïve world would feel sorry for them, would shower them with money and resources, would endow their leaders with comfortable, worthy of note lifestyle—not a bad outcome for a fake cause.
It has become increasingly evident that the PA is not seeking an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They have refused to abandon their demand for a return of the refugees to their non-existent homes in Israel and for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state; they have refused to leave the past behind and move on to a better and peaceful future. They keep mounting piles over piles of unreasonable excuses, justifying their unwillingness to negotiate an end to the conflict; they keep encouraging the proliferation of Jew-hatred, since loathing is a strong unifying force in a society overflowing with infighting, rivalry, a culture of endless vengeance and backstabbing between clans, and no tradition or history of national unity.
Mahmoud Abbas must realize that once he rules over an independent Palestine he runs the risk of being exposed to his own fake wishes. An independent Palestinian state may not have the legal entitlement to vital Israeli services—services provided at present under the rule of "occupation". He also knows that independence may bring about an eruption of violence in his own backyard as a direct consequence of invoking further feelings of deprivation.
Abbas does not want an independent Palestinian state. He does want to maintain the status-quo of an occupied territory, maintain pressure on Israel, keep playing the poor, the needy, the deprived, the weak, so that he can prolong the international pouring of sympathy and material gifting. He keeps on playing loser—"never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity". Abbas belongs with a culture where logical reasoning and forward looking take a backseat to pride and false honor; where redeeming the shame of the 1948 Naqba (the "catastrophe" of Israel's independence) takes precedence over a peaceful future, free of past fiascoes.
The game played by the PA will not lead to a peaceful co-existence. The US should abandon its fruitless efforts of pressuring Israel for increasingly more concessions in its attempts to facilitate an end to the status-quo. It takes two to tango, and the other partners, the PA and its comfortable leaders, are not about to take unnecessary risks. They do not intend to plead for a change. For the past hundred years, they have brainwashed their own people, preaching Jew-hatred.
Going against their own teaching, the PA leadership may very well terminate their support base, their careers, their livelihoods, their lives…