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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
Barry Rubin artfully demolishes the appointment of Ram Hamdullah as the new Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority – replacing the recently resigned Salaam Fayyad. Like Fayyad, who had a long career in international financial circles and was able to convince Western governments and institutions to “invest” in Palestinian “government,” Mr. Hamdullah’s appointment has one goal — keep the cash spigot turned on:
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Hamdullah’s predecessor was Salam Fayyad. Fayyad, named six years ago, was a serious economist who actually tried to curb the ruling Fatah party’s corruption. The Western donors liked Fayyad and kept him in office for years against the will of the Fatah bosses, who periodically tried to get rid of him. Yet they feared that if they forced out Fayyad, the money would be cut off. At any rate, they blocked all of Fayyad’s reform measures, and he never played any significant role in negotiations with Israel.
Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 at 9:09 AM | Stand For Israel
In early March of 1978, 11 Palestinian terrorists floated down the Mediterranean coast from Lebanon to Israel and landed north of Tel Aviv. This Wikipedia article has specifics about the chaos they caused, but it left 38 Israelis dead, including 13 children (the youngest being two years old). One of the terrorists, a young woman named Dalal Mughrabi, has become a heroine in Palestinian society. Schools and summer camps are named after her. Another participant, a young man named Hussein Fayyad, was arrested and imprisoned by Israel until his release in 1985 as part of a prisoner swap between Israel and the PLO. Since his release, Fayyad has been living in exile in Algeria. News reports recently revealed that in 2008 he was promoted to the position of “Advisor” to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.Comments (26) »
Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 at 10:21 AM | Stand For Israel
Jonathan Tobin, writing in Commentary, says that the latest Palestinian precondition-setting is another attempt to avoid negotiation – a continuation of a long-standing Palestinian policy of refusing to make peace while trying not to look like they refuse to make peace by refusing to negotiate for peace. Preconditions either: 1) avoid the problem of negotiation; or, 2) allow Palestinians to win major concessions without even having to negotiate.
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Since the PA knows it has neither the will nor the ability to sign a peace agreement recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn, their goal is to avoid any diplomatic setting at which they might be forced to admit this, as they did when they turned down peace offers in 2000, 2001 and 2008.
Friday, May 3rd, 2013 at 8:58 AM | Stand For Israel
Dov Weisglass, former bureau chief for former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, writes in Yediot Achronot that the recent resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad – who, for his faults, was less enamored of violence than other Palestinian leaders and far more committed to ethical stewardship of PA funds – is bad for the PA, the Palestinian people, and Israel:
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Fayyad created a revolution in the Palestinian lifestyle and in Israel-PA relations. The security forces were reorganized: The “Intifada generation” was replaced with worthy people, who were trained to do their jobs; the armed gangs dominating the streets were driven away and crime was terminated; the terrorism against Israelis from Judea and Samaria came to an almost complete halt; the government and public fund management underwent a fundamental reform; the “family” monopolies controlling imports and trade were dissolved. For all this, and more than once, Fayyad nearly paid with his life.
Thursday, April 18th, 2013 at 9:12 AM | Stand For Israel
Elliott Abrams, President George W. Bush’s former National Security Advisor, takes to the pages of The Weekly Standard for an extended look at what will become of the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian leadership, and the prospects for peace with Israel now that Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad – whose positions on Israel were slightly less strident than the terrorists, but who could be trusted with public funds and was respected in international financial circles – has resigned.
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From the Arabs, Fayyad always got remarkably little. American and European foreign aid levels were very high, but Arab support was always a day late and a few hundred million dollars short. Fayyad’s own integrity and his insistence on rooting out corruption largely killed the old excuse of the rich Arab oil exporting nations, that they would not give because their money would be stolen. But very few of them ever met their pledges, or met them on time, or increased them when the price of oil and therefore their own budget surpluses jumped. The cause of Palestine was great for speeches but less alluring when it came to writing checks.
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 at 9:44 AM | Stand For Israel
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