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Writing at Foreign Policy, Oren Kessler writes what we’ve said here many times — current evidence suggests that the Palestinian leadership is unprepared to help create among its own people the conditions in which peace could take root and, given that reality, the Palestinians want status quo violence more than they want their own country:
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Viewers of the Palestinian Authority’s official television station are unceasingly reminded that the Arab-Israeli conflict is an existential, zero-sum dispute. The channel assures its audience that cities in Israel will ultimately return to Arab rule, that the murder of Israeli civilians is a heroic deed, and that Jews are “barbaric monkeys, wretched pigs” — or in the words of putatively peace-minded Palestinian Authority official Jibril Rajoub, “Satans” and “Zionist sons of bitches.” And that’s not to speak of the fire-eyed theocrats of Hamas, who run the show in the Gaza Strip.
Friday, March 7th, 2014 at 8:26 AM | Stand For Israel
In 2009, Prime Minister Netanyahu unilaterally imposed a 10-month settlement freeze in order to lure Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table. It took nine months for Abbas to agree to talks and, when he finally did, it was only to demand another freeze.
In 2013, Israel agreed to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners — not political prisoners, but actual terrorists — again to lure the Palestinians to the negotiating table. If you’re noticing a trend, that’s because there is one: Israel makes concessions for the privilege of the Palestinians’ company.
Now, with talks on the verge of collapse because Palestinian leaders are willing to do exactly nothing to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict, Mahmoud Abbas is, once again, demanding that Israel give something just to keep the dialogue open. Two days ago, Abbas demanded another settlement freeze. Yesterday, as we reported in this morning’s Stand for Israel Daily Dispatch, he demanded more prisoner releases.
And this is the problem when only one side wants a resolution and only one side is negotiating in good faith. If you’re the Palestinians, and you can keep getting the Israelis endlessly to release murderers (which, for some reason, is something you want) and freeze construction in neighborhoods around Jerusalem, what’s your incentive to ever give anything in return? If it keeps working, Israel will eventually empty their jails and permanently cease building across the green line and it will have cost you absolutely nothing.
When we hear Israeli leaders say that Mahmoud Abbas is either unable or unwilling to make peace, this is why; not because he’s an anti-Semite or a Holocaust denier or a terrorist sympathizer (though he is also those things). It is well past time someone — we’re looking at you, Secretary Kerry — called the Palestinians on this tired game.Comments (23) »
Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 at 8:29 AM | Stand For Israel
Shlomo Avineri, a columnist at Haaretz and professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, lays out a few of the reasons why it is pure fantasy to suspect that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will ever sign a deal with Israel. Avineri, who is a famous denizen of the Israeli peace camp, is nonetheless able to see that Abbas is the problem:
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The Palestinians have never outlined their overall vision of an agreement, except, of course, in regard to the territorial issue. But on matters of crucial importance to Israel – forgoing the right of return, some form of recognition of Israel as the Jewish nation-state – the Palestinian leadership has clearly rejected the Israeli position. Though Abbas has stated that he personally has no desire to return to Safed, he has also declared that the Palestinians cannot give up the right of return, saying it is an “individual right.” And both Abbas and Saeb Erekat, his chief negotiator, have outright rejected all calls to accept Israel as the Jewish nation-state, citing the basic Palestinian position that the Jews are a religious community, not a nation.
Thursday, February 20th, 2014 at 8:22 AM | Stand For Israel
We all know that the Palestinian Authority uses its media and textbooks to teach and preach hatred of Israel. Jonathan Tobin, writing at Commentary, looks at Israel’s recent attempt to call attention to this phenomenon, the world’s lack of interest, and what it means for the possibility of a negotiated peace:
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Instead of ignoring Israeli efforts to focus on incitement, Secretary of State John Kerry should be paying close attention to the issue. While a solution that would create two states for two peoples regardless of the borders would be something an overwhelming majority of Israelis would happily accept, Palestinian educators, both in the West Bank governed by PA “moderates” and in Hamas-run Gaza, have ensured that most Palestinians would reject any such deal.
Friday, January 17th, 2014 at 9:06 AM | Stand For Israel
According to a report in the Times of Israel, Secretary of State John Kerry will suggest the following political “trade-off” this week: The Palestinians will accept the idea of Israel as the Jewish State. Israel will accept the 1967 borders as the starting place for negotiations.
So, the Palestinians have to accept something that is already a fact – deniable only to them – and the Israelis have to begin by agreeing that the holiest site in Judaism is, in fact, in a foreign country. The Palestinian “admission” doesn’t change their negotiating position one iota. The Israeli “admission” means they must start figuring out what they can trade for the Western Wall.
For the Palestinians, the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is mere words. Yasser Arafat – many, many times – acknowledged that Israel was a Jewish state and would remain so at the end of the Oslo process. He never put it in writing, of course, and he never made a point to preach it to his own people, preferring to tell them he would gladly die a martyr for Jerusalem.
Another report has Israel offering to exchange the Israeli-Arab “triangle” – including the Arab-majority cities of Umm al-Fahm and Nazareth – for the major settlement blocs in the hills around Jerusalem (cities like Ariel, as opposed to the Jerusalem suburbs about which the only disagreement as to their eventual inclusion within the borders of Israel is from American and European diplomats). So Jewish Israelis living in large cities on the West Bank will remain Israeli, and a million or so Israeli-Arabs will become citizens of a Palestinian state.
One problem: those Israeli-Arabs have made it clear in numerous opinion polls that, while they may hate Israel and the idea of a Jewish state, they have no interest in living under Palestinian governance. The “Zionist occupier” may be an evil colonial presence, but he offers liberty and rights and courts and all the institutions of civil society that support them. And…Read More » Comments (35) »
Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 at 8:54 AM | Stand For Israel
In January, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will begin the tenth year of the four-year term he began in 2005. That’s not a typo. Abbas was elected to a term that began on January 15, 2005 and ended on January 9, 2009. Due to infighting with Hamas, he unilaterally extended his term and has not stood for election since.
Surrounding him are a group of hangers-on familiar to anyone who follows the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – including Saeb Erekat, Hanan Ashrawi, and Mohammad Shtayyeh. Each of these people have been central to the Palestinian side of the peace process since the early 1990s. Ashrawi has been familiar to the American TV audience since the First Intifada began in 1987.
They’re in no particular hurry for a state. A state, you see, has to be governed and built and lead. And because they’re in no particular hurry – because John Kerry is the eighth Secretary of State that Hanan Ashrawi has dealt with in her tenure – they can bide their time. American politicians, meanwhile, have very limited time to accomplish something. And so, each new President, each new Secretary of State, and each new negotiator runs into the buzzsaw of Saeb Erekat and company.
That’s why yesterday we had Erekat calling on Secretary Kerry to “save” the current round of peace talks by forcing the Israelis to cancel some planned construction in settlement blocs.
At some point, the Palestinians may raise up some leaders actually interested in leading their people to a brighter, peaceful future. Until that day comes, the Palestinians will continue the same cycle. They’ve been doing it a long time.Comments (9) »
Thursday, December 5th, 2013 at 9:10 AM | Stand For Israel
Jonathan Tobin, writing at Commentary magazine, notes that the driving force behind the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t settlements or land or even religious differences. Instead, it is the hatred of Jews stoked by irrational Islamist terrorists who thrive on the violence-excusing culture they’ve created:
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Indeed, the focus on settlements is merely a way for the Palestinian leadership to try and avoid being put in the same uncomfortable position they were placed in back in 2000, 2001, and 2008 when they rejected Israeli offers of statehood that would have given them almost all of the West Bank and a share of Jerusalem.
Thursday, November 14th, 2013 at 9:05 AM | Stand For Israel
Imagine, if you can, that your local zoning commission decides to approve a new strip mall in your hometown. Maybe you like the plans for the new strip mall. Maybe you’re upset about it. Maybe it’s on the other side of town and you don’t really care. But now, imagine an uproar over your zoning board’s decision at the United Nations and in Brussels, the capital of the European Union. Imagine that world leaders are calling on President Obama – in public and private – demanding he “do something” to stop this zoning decision.
That’s what happened earlier this week when an Israeli commission announced new housing tenders for units located in communities across the “green line” – the 1948 armistice line that the West pretend will be the beginning point for negotiations over a Palestinian state (newsflash: beginning negotiations with the “green line” puts the Western Wall and the Old City of Jerusalem outside of Israel. What, in this scenario, does Israel have to trade that is worth the holiest site in Judaism?). The Palestinians – who got the U.S. to arm-twist Israel to release more than 100 convicted terrorists just to get to the negotiating table – threatened to walk out on the talks if the U.S. didn’t arm-twist Israel to cancel the housing tenders.
The U.S., whose policy under several successive administrations has been that building across the “green line” constitutes settlement construction and is “illegitimate,” obliged and, yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu cancelled the housing tenders.
This is how the Palestinian leadership operates. Time and again, they manage to get Western countries
usually the U.S. or the E.U. – to do their negotiating for them. A particularly egregious example was Secretary Kerry’s threat that Israeli failure to sufficiently capitulate would result in a third intifada.
And in no area are the Palestinians more proficient than in complaining about Israeli settlement activity. Never mind that most of these settlements are suburbs or exurbs of Jerusalem that will almost certainly be in Israel-proper with any…Read More » Comments (32) »
Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 at 9:00 AM | Stand For Israel
Jeffrey Goldberg, writing at Bloomberg, points out that Iranian proxy Hamas is in a precarious situation in the Gaza Strip, and that its continued rule of Gaza is one of the most significant factors in the futility of possible upcoming peace talks (though Goldberg puts too much faith in the Palestinian Authority). Getting rid of Hamas rule, Goldberg says, is a possibility:
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Both the Palestinian Authority and Israel see Hamas as a bitter enemy; both sides understand that Hamas is an impediment to peace talks. The end of Hamas’s rule — the Gaza Strip constituting about half of what would be a future Palestinian state — could set the stage for actual, fruitful negotiations. Removing Hamas from power would be difficult, but not as difficult as it might have been a month ago, before the demise of Hamas’s main benefactor, the Muslim Brotherhood, when Mohamed Mursi was ousted as president of Egypt.
Friday, July 26th, 2013 at 7:21 AM | Stand For Israel
David Pryce-Jones, writing at National Review, revisits the disservice done to the Palestinian people by their corrupt, ineffective leadership. Pryce-Jones says that, without better leadership (both political and, crucially, in the cultural/religious sphere), Secretary of State Kerry can call for as many fruitless peace talks as he wants, but the problem will remain a problem:
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The foundation of the state of Israel certainly presented the Palestinians with the difficult choice of resisting, or accommodating, or finding some path between. Their misfortune has been to have leaders determined to resist. Violence has brought them nothing but loss of life, loss of territory, and loss of pride. Just imagine the horrible mixed feelings of greed and shame that a Palestinian must have hearing that Kerry wants to hand them four billion dollars, just buying them off.
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 at 9:38 AM | Stand For Israel
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