The Peace Process: View from the West Bank
Abbas's media, spokesmen and mosque imams have radicalized Palestinians to the point where many of them are no longer prepared to hear about peace. The conflict in the Middle East is not over a settlement or a checkpoint. Rather this is a conflict over the very existence of Israel.
The day the video was released containing US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's remarks that the "Palestinians are not interested whatsoever in peace," the PLO announced that it was studying the possibility of canceling the Oslo Accords.
The PLO announcement about rescinding the Oslo Accords — in addition to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's continued refusal to resume peace talks with Israel -- came after two days of discussions headed by Abbas, and show Romney's assessment to be correct.
For the past three years, Abbas has used the issue of settlements, initiated by the current US Obama administration, as an excuse to stay away from the negotiating table with Israel. Until then, the settlements did not seem to bother Abbas or his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, who conducted peace talks with successive Israeli governments while construction in the settlements continued.
Abbas decided to suspend the peace talks with the Israeli government because he prefers to impose a solution on Israel rather than achieving one through negotiations.
Romney is also correct in assuming that Palestinians remain "committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel."
The last time Palestinians held a free and fair election, in January 2006, a majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas, the radical Islamic movement committed to the destruction of Israel.
True, many Palestinians voted for Hamas because they wanted to punish Abbas's corruption-riddled Fatah faction, but at the end of the day, the Palestinians knew that they were casting their ballots for a terror movement that does not hesitate to dispatch suicide bombers and rockets to kill innocent civilians. Many Palestinians are convinced that Hamas would score another victory if another free and fair election were held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip these days.
The Palestinian Authority's declared policy in recent years has been to promote boycotts of Israel and criminalize all forms of normalization with Israelis. Abbas and his government have also devoted tremendous efforts to depict Israel as an apartheid state that must be ostracized by the rest of the world.
Abbas's media, spokesmen and mosque imams have radicalized Palestinians to a point where many of them are no longer prepared to hear about peace with Israel.
Abbas believes that with the help of the UN and other countries, he will be able to extract more concessions from Israel than if he returned to the negotiating table. Hence his decision to resume his effort to unilaterally seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.
At almost at the same time the Romney video was released, Abbas announced that he was "determined" to file another request for membership in the UN during the General Assembly session in New York later this month.
Romney's prediction that a Palestinian state would pose a threat to Israel, and his fear of Iran's increased involvement, in the Middle East are not unjustified. Once Hamas extends its control from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank, Iran, Sudan and many Islamic terror groups will start flooding the area with weapons in preparation for jihad [holy war] against the "Zionist entity."
Were it not for Iran, Hizbollah would be powerless to direct tens of thousands of rockets toward Israel. Without Iran's support, Hamas would never have been able to remain in power in the Gaza Strip and acquire thousands of missiles and rockets. In the future, the Iranians will not miss an opportunity to set foot in the West Bank.
Anti-Israel sentiments in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the rest of the Arab and Islamic countries are so high that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood President, Mohamed Morsi, has not had the courage to utter the word Israel even once since he came to power.
Finally, how can anyone disagree with the position Romney also espoused toward the "two-state solution"? Hasn't the two-state solution already been realized? Didn't the Palestinians end up with, not one, but two states of their own -- one in the Gaza Strip and another in the West Bank?
Was it Israel's fault that Hamas forced the PLO out of the Gaza Strip in 2007? Was it Israel's fault that a majority of Palestinians voted in favor of Hamas and its terrorist agenda a year earlier?
The actions and words of Abbas and his aides over the past three years prove beyond any doubt that they have chosen to abandon the path of peace in favor of a huge diplomatic effort to delegitimize Israel in the eyes of the international community.
Romney should be commended for understanding that the conflict in the Middle East is not over a settlement or a checkpoint. Rather, this is a conflict over the very existence of Israel. In the Arab and Islamic world, there is still a majority of people who have not come to terms with Israel's right to exist. Unlike Barack Obama, Romney appears to have understood where the real problem lies.
Reader comments on this item
|Arab-Israel conflict and the Palestinian agenda of intolerance [179 words]||Batya Casper, Israelathebook.com||Sep 20, 2012 10:58|
|relief [46 words]||Joanne Brodie||Sep 20, 2012 08:00|
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
The "Arab Spring" did not erupt as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, it was the outcome of decades of tyranny and corruption in the Arab world. The Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and Yemenis who removed their dictators from power did not do so because of the lack of a "two-state solution." This is the last thing they had in mind.
The thousands of Muslims who are volunteering to join the Islamic State [IS] are not doing so because they are frustrated with the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The only solution the Islamic State believes in is a Sunni Islamic Caliphate where the surviving non-Muslims who are not massacred would be subject to sharia law.
What Kerry perhaps does not know is that the Islamic State is not interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at all. Unlike Kerry, Sunni scholars fully understand that the Islamic State has more to do with Islam and terrorism than with any other conflict.
by Steven J. Rosen
Palestinian officials have generally been silent about security cooperation with Israel. They are loath to acknowledge how important it is for the survival of the Palestinian Authority [PA], and fear that critics, especially Hamas, will consider it "collaboration with the enemy."
"You smuggle weapons, explosives and cash to the West Bank, not for the fight with Israel, but for a coup against the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli intelligence chief visited me two weeks ago and told me about the [Hamas] group they arrested that was planning for a coup... We have a national unity government and you are thinking about a coup against me." — Mahmoud Abbas, PA President, to Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader.
According to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, if the IDF leaves the West Bank, Hamas will take over, and other terrorists groups such as the Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaeda and Islamic State would operate there.
In recent months, Abbas has been making a series of threats against Israel. If Abbas becomes another Arafat, it could be the Israeli side that loses interest in security cooperation.
by Burak Bekdil
It was the Islamists who, since they came to power in the 2000s, have reaped the biggest political gains from the "Palestine-fetish."
But the Turkish rhetoric on "solidarity" with our Palestinian brothers often seems askew to how solidarity should be.
by Raheel Raza
One blogger writes that Malala hates Pakistan's military. I believe it is the other way around.
I would so like to see the day when Malala is welcomed back in Pakistan, with the whole country cheering.
by Francesco Sisci
Democratic evolution in China was being seriously considered. The failures of U.S. support for democracy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and Libya gave new food for thought to those opposed to democracy. Lastly, the United States did not strongly oppose the anti-democratic coup d'état that overthrew a democratically elected government in Thailand.
On the other hand, Russia -- dominated by Vladimir Putin, a new autocrat determined to stifle democracy in Russia -- provided a new model.
The whole of Eastern Europe and most of Latin America, formerly in the clutches of dictatorships, are now efficient democracies. This seems to indicate that while democracy cannot be parachuted into a country, there is a broader, longer-term global trend toward democracy and that its growth depends on local conditions.
As economic development needed careful planning, political reforms need even greater planning. The question remains: is China preparing for these political reforms?