Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a.k.a Abu Mazen, has repeatedly announced publicly his demands if there is to be any peace with Israel. So here we are again, some dozen years on, and it seems the PA is again in the mood to agree to disagree.
President Abbas has listed the following “preconditions;” a more politically correct term than “demands” but they are both the same. In case you missed it, these demands are to stop all settlement construction in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and, among other demands, the release of the remaining Palestinian prisoners which Israel agreed to do in a peace agreement made last year but which was halted due to PA intransigence by association with Hamas and with the International Criminal Court.
These Palestinian “preconditions” are not new to anyone familiar with Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. What is interesting, however, is the expectation that the “peace process” will last at least a year to allow for, in part, the establishment of a timetable for Israel to evacuate the so-called West Bank (which is really Judea and Samaria) by 2017 as if Israeli withdrawal is already a done deal.
Not surprisingly, these demands are all concessions on Israel’s part. Nowhere is there any quid pro quo for Palestinian concessions. Perhaps Mr. Abbas and his “colleagues” think peace negotiations with Israel are to be purely one-sided; Israel gives and the Palestinians take. It’s the same old story. What could the “poor Palestinians” give up in return for Israeli concessions? Does recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State come to mind? Does ending terror against Israeli citizens mean anything? How about the despicable brainwashing of Palestinian children over the PA airways with programs teaching hate and violence against Israel and all Jews? In fact, if Abbas were really serious about peace, he might show some sincerity by toning down the Palestinian rhetoric of hate against Israel and encourage other like-minded people in the Middle East to do the same.
Undoubtedly the Palestinian Authority recognizes the fact that it needs to move relatively quickly to obtain its goals, at least on paper, before President Obama leaves the White House. The prospect of having another US President with the same Middle East policy as Mr. Obama is unlikely. The PA also understands that if a timetable for Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria were not completed by 2017, negotiations would have to be reiterated and discussed anew with a new US President and with a more conservative United States Congress. Furthermore, negative pressure on Israel by the United States will be eased with governmental change in Washington DC.
“Land for Peace” is an obviously futile endeavor. Forcing Israel to give up what little real estate she possesses would only serve to allow her enemies to move in closer to Israeli population centers thus making it all the more difficult to strategically defend herself from Arab aggression.
If Mahmoud Abbas really desired peace, he would act more like a peace partner and would instill and nurture that value in his citizenry. Instead of television programs promoting terrorism and the worship of homicide bombers as heroes, such actions would be publicly condemned and terrorists punished, not rewarded. Terrorism and terrorists would be viewed and despised as the criminals they are.
So, is it peace the Palestinians really want? This all depends, of course, on how Abbas and the Palestinians define peace. Does their definition of peace line up with Western expectations and values or does “peace Palestinian-style” mean the absence of violence when all are forced to submit to Allah? That’s not peace. Can there ever be peace when the Palestinians follow Allah and Israel follows The Living G-d, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Followers of The Living God show compassion and love while followers of Allah overflow with hatred and violence.
Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post