The Palestinians: Ten Points The U.S. Needs To Consider
Even if a Palestinian State were established, Hamas and other groups would work to take control of it, and, with the help of Iran and Al-Qaeda, turn it into a launching pad for attacking Israel and other neighbors.
It is hard to find one Palestinian who believes that US President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to the region will lead to a breakthrough in the Middle East "peace process."
Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah said they too are not pinning any hopes on Obama's visit. "The situation is much more complicated than Obama thinks," remarked a top PA official in a briefing ahead of the US president's visit. "We do not believe we will see any changes on the ground."
But as Obama prepares to visit the region, he would do well to take the following facts into consideration:
1. Any agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would be rejected by a large number of Palestinians, especially Palestinian refugees who continue to insist on the "right of return" to their former villages inside Israel.
2. A majority of Arabs and Muslims would also reject a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, especially in wake of the "Arab Spring," which has seen the rise of Islamists to power in a number of Arab countries. It is hard to see how the ruling Muslim Brotherhood organization in Egypt, for example, would welcome any peace agreement with the "Zionist entity."
3. Even if a Palestinian state were established in the West Bank, Hamas and other groups would work to take control of it and, with the help of Iran and Al-Qaeda, turn it into a launching pad for attacking Israel and other neighbors. The Palestinian Authority is in power thanks to the presence of the Israel Defense Force in the West Bank. Ironically, ending Israeli "occupation" would also bring an end to Abbas's rule.
4. Most Palestinians do not see the US as an honest broker. Any agreement reached under the auspices of the US Administration would be received with utmost suspicion. Already, many Palestinian activists are waging a campaign on Facebook and Twitter to "prevent Obama from desecrating the land of Palestine." The activists have called for "huge demonstrations" in the West Bank to protest against Obama's visit; they are even preparing shoes to throw at his motorcade.
5. With the exception of Fatah, all Palestinian organizations -- primarily Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine -- would automatically reject any peace agreement with Israel for various reasons. Some of these groups want to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth, while others believe that Israel would never accept all their demands, such as a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and the release of all Palestinian prisoners.
6. The Palestinians are divided into two camps not only geographically, but also ideologically. The first is a radical camp that does not want to deliver on any front: it believes that Israel has no right to exist. The second is the less-radical camp, or the "moderates." This second camp is also not able to deliver: it does not have enough control over the Palestinian territories, let alone a mandate from the Palestinians.
7. Abbas is opposed to the idea of reaching an interim agreement with Israel that would lead to the establishment of a temporary Palestinian state on the parts of the West Bank that are controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
8. Even the Palestinian Authority appears to be divided into two camps, one headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the second led by Abbas. Tensions between the two have been mounting in wake of the resignation of Palestinian Finance Minister Nabil Qassis. While Abbas has rejected the resignation, Fayyad has accepted it, triggering a crisis with the Palestinian Authority president.
9. Many Palestinians, including Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership, are opposed to the resumption of peace talks unless Israel releases a significant number of Palestinian prisoners, halts all construction in settlements, as well as east Jerusalem, and accepts the pre-1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state.
10. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does not have a mandate from his people to reach any agreement with Israel: his term in office expired in January 2009.
Reader comments on this item
|The US, EU, and UN aid money to the PA has caused the status quo on the Arab side. [126 words]||Sonshine||Mar 20, 2013 10:54|
|If The Palestinians Do Not Accept A Peace Deal, What Would Their Future Be? [127 words]||Tim Upham||Mar 18, 2013 13:20|
|↔ To Tim Upham [230 words]||Phil Slepian||Mar 25, 2013 09:25|
|↔ Haaretz of March 26, 2013 Says "Hamas Accepts 1967 Borders" [290 words]||Tim Upham||Mar 25, 2013 19:24|
|↔ Reply to Tim Upham's reply [607 words]||Phil Slepian||Mar 28, 2013 08:17|
|↔ Painfully As It Seems, Both Israelis and Palestinians Are Human Beings [540 words]||Tim Upham||Mar 28, 2013 15:42|
|↔ Tim is wrong. [803 words]||Phil Slepian||Apr 3, 2013 08:47|
|↔ It Is Not World War II, Where One Group Of People Are Victims, And The Other Are The Great Satan [687 words]||Tim Upham||Apr 4, 2013 22:31|
|↔ Point by point, Tim [1043 words]||Phillip Slepian||Apr 8, 2013 08:00|
|↔ Moshe Feiglin Even Disdained By The Likud Party [188 words]||Tim Upham||Apr 9, 2013 18:59|
|Give a test [133 words]||Jacob Silver||Mar 18, 2013 12:46|
|Making Peace with Your Enemy [179 words]||Larry Snider||Mar 18, 2013 08:43|
|↔ The Palestinians don't want peace [23 words]||Kyra Nelson||Mar 19, 2013 23:31|
|Right of return [69 words]||Mjazzguitar||Mar 17, 2013 13:00|
|Brilliant analysis [161 words]||Josephine Bacon||Mar 17, 2013 12:15|
|Response to blocks for any peace agreement, much less for a two state solution [59 words]||Jill Schaeffer||Mar 17, 2013 10:43|
|Why 10? Why not 1,000 or 1? [171 words]||Empress Trudy||Mar 15, 2013 22:03|
|Thoughts on Point 1 [107 words]||Ken||Mar 15, 2013 10:07|
|Obama [11 words]||Danny||Mar 14, 2013 10:38|
|A reminder for Toameh [141 words]||Phil Slepian||Mar 14, 2013 08:59|
|↔ The reality of status quo [147 words]||Eugene Schneider||Mar 19, 2013 21:49|
|↔ To E. Schneider [298 words]||Phil Slepian||Mar 21, 2013 14:33|
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?