Big Peace (Link) - Rob Miller (November 15, 2011)
The so-called Middle East peace process between the Israelis and the “Palestinians” is essentially dead, and it will be quite some time before there’s an attempt to revive it.
Israeli statesman Abba Eban’s famous quote about the “Palestinians” never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity has come true once more, although in fairness they had a large assist this time from President Obama.
Mahmoud Abbas has once again refused to enter direct negotiations with Israel, telling new US envoy David Hale that the Palestinians would not return to the negotiating table with Israel unless the Israeli government met the preconditions of freezing all construction in what the “Palestinians” consider settlements, including East Jerusalem and accepting the pre-1967 cease fire lines as the basis for future borders in any two state solution.
In other words, Abbas is willing to sit down with the Israelis only if there’s nothing much left to negotiate. This is roughly the equivalent of agreeing to go to Las Vegas and place a bet on the roulette wheel only if your winnings are guaranteed in advance.
Another settlement freeze is not on the table and Abbas knows it. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu already gave the “Palestinians” a 10-month freeze as a unilateral concession in an attempt to get talks going, something that caused him considerable political damage at home. In response, the ‘Palestinians’ stonewalled for 9 1/2 months and then used Netanyahu’s refusal to extend the freeze indefinitely as an excuse to bail out of talks.
Netanyahu has made it quite clear that he’s not going to be fooled again. He’s especially not going to do it when the Israeli public is already upset over high housing costs.
Abbas also knows that no Israeli government is going to redivide Jerusalem, especially since Abbas and his friend in the “Palestinian” Authority have made it clear that no Jews will be allowed in their little reichlet. An Israeli government that agreed to that would not only be creating a large number of homeless Jewish refugees but would be placing Judaism’s most holy sites under Muslim control while making them off limits to Jews. The Israelis have experienced in the past what that means. It isn’t going to happen, and Abbas’ demands have only made the vast majority of Israelis realize that Abbas and Fatah are not serious about a genuine peace and likely never were.
Abbas maneuvered things to a dead end with three steps guaranteed to kill off any chance of a realistic deal. First he and his minions declared the Oslo Accords dead, thus nullifying the entire basis of the agreement between Israel and the “Palestinian” Authority. Next, he signed a unity agreement with the genocidal Hamas while vowing he would not make a single concession to Israel. And finally, he abrogated both Oslo and the Road Map in an attempt to have the UN Security Council unilaterally declare “Palestine” a member state based on the borders the “Palestinians” claimed – all of Judea and Samaria and all of East Jerusalem.
The only real result of this gambit was to get “Palestine” elected to membership in UNESCO. That turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory that resulted in the organization’s budget being slashed to the bone when the US, Canada and several other large donors ended their funding and the Israelis voted to no longer forward the approximately $100 million per month they collect in taxes and duties to the ‘Palestinian’ Authority. Aside from the UN fiasco, the final straw for the Israelis was Mahmoud Abbas personally greeting the terrorist murderers freed in the Gilad Shalit deal as “holy warriors” and gifting them with $5,000 each and a free house.
While the Palestinians bear primary responsibility for the current state of affairs, the midwife to the stillborn corpse known as the Middle East peace process was none other than President Barack Obama.
Coming into office with an animus against Israel nurtured by longtime associates like Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers and Rashid Khalidi, convinced that Israel was the problem and that pressuring them was the solution, the president not only created a hostile climate with the Israelis but gave assurances to Abbas and the “Palestinians” that he could deliver the Jews on a platter.
He started out by having Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blatantly lie about President’s Bush’s 2004 letter and assurances to Ariel Sharon that recognized Israel’s claim in any peace agreement to the parts of Judea and Samaria (AKA The West Bank) that contain large Jewish communities. Along with US and EU guarantees that Gaza would never be a security problem once the Israelis pulled out, President Bush’s assurances were the entire basis under which then Israeli PM Ariel Sharon signed on to the Road Map. President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton simply claimed it never happened and reneged on it.
The president continued by choosing Arab-American ex-Senator George Mitchell as his special envoy for Middle East peace, whose sole real contribution was to threaten Israel with a cut off of aid and to remain in a fog about how the Israeli-Arab conflict was really just Northern Ireland redux.
While Abbas may never have actually had any serous intent on negotiating anything, it was President Obama who created the two preconditions that now hold things up, at least according to the “Palestinians.” As Mahmoud Abbas himself related, it was President Obama’s idea to make a building freeze a major issue when it wasn’t before, even to the point of creating a major diplomatic incident between the US and Israel over what was essentially a local zoning issue and then harshly criticizing Israel for rejecting an offer to resume the freeze that the US never made in the first place.
There was the frosty and humiliating reception for PM Netanyahu at the White House that would have been rude and dismissive of a fourth world despot, let alone the leader of an American ally.
And last May, the president decided to double down on his previous failures by attempting to ambush PM Netanyahu while he was en route to address a joint session of the US Congress. After assuring the Israelis that an upcoming speech would not advance any new proposals, this president endorsed borders based on the pre-’67 lines as the official US position, a radical stance no US president had ever embraced before.
It’s hardly any wonder that the Israelis have no trust in the current administration. In view of what’s occurred since his inauguration, President Obama’s recent conversation with French President Sarkozy on what a “liar” Netanyahu is and how hard the Israeli PM is to deal with provokes unintended laughter in anyone who’s actually been following what been going on.
From Mahmoud Abbas’s point of view, he has no reason to trust anything President Obama says either. Approaching his third anniversary as the “Palestinian” Authority’s unelected dictator, Abbas can voice his frustration over President Obama with a certain amount of justification.
After observing President Obama’s creation of a hostile relationship with Israel and its leaders (and not understanding how Congress and elections work here in America), Abbas had no reason not to believe that President Obama wasn’t going to be able to deliver on the promises he made to Abbas, the first world leader the president phoned once he took over.
When President Obama made a building freeze and the pre-’67 borders America’s new line in the sand, Abbas hopped right on board. After all, how could he be less intransigent and demanding than an American president?
Now, Abbas is stuck with that position and can’t afford politically to back down. Instead, he bet his people’s future on a crap shoot at the UN – and rolled snake eyes.
Not that Abbas and his cronies are going to lose out personally. As ousted Fatah official Muhammad Dahlan admitted, Abbas personally stole at least $1.3 billion from the Palestine Investment Fund, money Yasser Arafat skimmed off humanitarian aid and ‘taxes’ paid to Fatah from ‘Palestinian’ businessmen as a price for being allowed to operate. Abbas’ sons Yasser and Tareq have similarly benefited, as have a number of other well connected Fatah cronies. Sufa Arafat still lives in her chic apartment in the best part of Paris on her ‘allowance’ from the PA of $100,000 per month.
The Fatah money is squirreled away in Europe and the Emirates, and Fatah’s old guard and their families will relocate there, or to Jordan as things unravel, since most of them have Jordanian citizenship. The remainder of the “Palestinians” who are not well connected or monied will likely come under Hamas rule, which the majority of them favor anyway.
This is the end result of a shockingly bad idea of President Clinton’s, that signing the Oslo Accords and bringing a thug like Yasser Arafat and his friends over from Tunis to rule over the “Palestinians” would somehow end up as peace.
A lot of people have paid in blood and anguish for that mistake, and there may be more before it’s over. †