The Palestinians: Who Are The Real Peace Partners?
The response of many Israelis and Palestinians to "The Palestine Papers" that were exposed by Al-Jazeera has been that the leaked documents actually show that there is a partner on the Palestinian side.
These Israelis and Palestinians argue that the far-reaching concessions that the Palestinian Authority leaders were alleged to have made to Israel -- according to The Palestine Papers -- clearly indicate that Mahmoud Abbas, Saeb Erekat, Ahmed Qurei and Salam Fayyad are true partners.
The fact that the Palestinian Authority is prepared to make concessions and help Israel crush Hamas has long been a known secret to most Palestinians.
The first question to ask, however, is not whether Abbas and his associates are partners, but whether the Palestinian Authority leaders can deliver anything.
The other question that needs to be asked is whether Abbas and his negotiators even have a mandate to offer Israel any concessions.
It is no secret that most of the Arab governments do not represent their constituents, at least in regard to making peace with Israel. If Arab leaders seem to be more "moderate" in their views toward the Middle East peace process than their people, it is because these leaders have been telling Westerners what they like to hear.
Even if the Palestinian Authority may be a peace partner, what about the Palestinians?
Has anyone thought about asking Abbas and Erekat what the Palestinians living in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan think about their willingness to offer Israel major concessions?
The Al-Jazeera revelations have seriously embarrassed the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, mainly because they show that Abbas and his negotiators have been telling their people one thing and Israelis and Americans something completely different.
Abbas and his negotiators have been promising Palestinians that there would no concessions whatsoever on core issues such as Jerusalem and refugees. But, as The Palestine Papers have shown, their message to the Israelis, Americans and Europeans has been the exact opposite.
Now, in wake of the Al-Jazeera revelations, the Palestinian Authority leaders are trying to distance themselves from these statements. Now, Abbas and his negotiators have to prove to their people that they are not "traitors" who sold out to Israel.
True, Abbas and his team are partners to a peace agreement with Israel. And yes, they might even be willing , if the documents are to believed, to give up most of east Jerusalem and the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees.
Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leaders even have long been conducting security coordination with Israel.
The Palestinian Authority has understandably, and perhaps justifiably, convinced some Israelis and many of its Western supporters that it is a partner for peace. Statements attributed to Abbas, Erekat and Qurei show that they have been saying all what many in Israel and in the West like to hear.
If anything, Al-Jazeera's sensationalist revelations show that Arab regimes are still afraid of telling their people the truth.
It is nice to hear Erekat and Qurei talk to Israel about giving up most of east Jerusalem: with such positions they can be described as true peace partners. But the question that needs to be addressed is not whether Abbas and Erekat are peace partners, but whether the majority of Palestinians would be willing to accept far-reaching concessions like the ones offered by the Palestinian Authority.
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by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Soeren Kern
"There is no territory more occupied than the body of a Palestinian woman, or a strip... severed by the violent imposition of the superstitions of Allah and the followers of Mohammed. We had better not even mention the situation of Palestinian homosexuals. This selective outrage by top progressives when it involves Israel is indeed anti-Semitism." — Alberto Moyano, Spanish newspaper editor.
"It is possible legitimately to criticize Israel. But it smells fishy when all of the blame is attributed to Israel, without even mentioning the small detail that a terrorist and jihadist group that rules Gaza has infringed on every conceivable humanitarian principle, by using civilians as human shields, and launching missiles from apartment blocks, while their leaders are living comfortable in Qatar, guests of a sheik." — Ángel Mas, Spanish analyst.
There has been virtually no public outcry whatsoever in Spain over the deaths of more than 160,000 people during three years of fighting in Syria; the decimation of ancient Christian communities at the hands of Islamists in Iraq; the kidnapping of 300 girls by Islamists in Nigeria; or the downing of a civilian passenger plane in Ukraine.
"The most anti-Semitic people are supposedly the most educated and well-informed." — Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs report on anti-Semitism in Spain.
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Khaled Abu Toameh
There is growing concern in Ramallah, Cairo, Riyadh and Dubai that the U.S. Administration is working to prevent the collapse of Hamas.
"The Americans mistakenly think that moderate political Islam, which is represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, will be able to combat radical Islam. The Americans are trying to bring the Muslim Brotherhood back to the region." — Palestinian official, Ramallah.
The Iranians, with whom the U.S. is now negotiating on nuclear weapons -- amid fears in the Middle East that the U.S. will capitulate to Tehran's demands if it has not effectively capitulated to them already -- have now joined Qatar and Turkey in opposing any attempt to confiscate Hamas's weapons.
The Paris conference was actually a spit in the face to the anti-Hamas forces in the Arab world. By failing to invite the Palestinian Authority to the conference, Kerry indicated that he does not see any role for Abbas and his loyalists in a post-Hamas Gaza Strip.