Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)
We’re still hanging here, but there is a world beyond this that impinges directly on us. And it’s time to put aside the election for a moment and take a look. My concern tonight is with the PA and the “peace process.”
A savvy contact of mine, who must go nameless because of his connections in Ramallah, told me this past week that PA officials consider Annapolis dead. They may talk about resuming negotiations, but they know that nothing would be achieved. After a year of negotiating, the result was a stalemate. They simply demand more than even our officials who are the most eager to make concessions are able to give. (Which was pretty much what had been predicted here over time.)
But that doesn’t mean we’re home free. There’s a hard fight yet to fight. Said my source, the PA is now seeking other means for achieving their goals.
No sooner had I been in touch with this source, then I discovered the following from last Thursday’s Haaretz:
“Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has conducted an international campaign in recent weeks aimed at the diplomatic isolation of a right-wing government headed by Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu. Abbas has been trying to convince the international community that such an Israeli government must face conditions similar to those faced by the Hamas government.
“…the Palestinian Authority prepared a plan for ‘diplomatic resistance’ to Israel. The purpose of the plan is to offer an alternative to the ‘military resistance’ of Hamas and preserve Fatah as a relevant force, even in the absence of a peace process.
“Abbas met last week with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and [shared]…his deep concerns about the establishment in Israel of a right-wing government headed by Netanyahu. Abbas stressed that such a development means a death blow to the peace process.
“…During all his meetings, Abbas compared a right-wing government in Israel to the Palestinian unity government of Fatah and Hamas, which followed the Mecca Accords in 2007. ‘You refused to fully cooperate with such a government because Hamas did not meet the Quartet’s conditions on ending terrorism and recognizing Israel,’ Abbas told the European leaders. ‘You will have to adopt a similar stance toward an Israeli government that will oppose the creation of a Palestinian state and genuine negotiations over the core issues of a permanent settlement,’ he added.
“Abbas demanded that the three leaders adopt the Quartet’s clear conditions for a right-wing government in Israel, including the agreement on a vision for two states, the Annapolis process which was backed by UN Security Council resolution 1850, and a freezing of construction in the settlements.
”The Palestinian leader added that if the new government in Israel does not meet these conditions it should be isolated, and sanctions should be imposed on it similar to those imposed on the Hamas government or the apartheid regime of South Africa.”
I would then like to share a post from the blog of Michael J. Totten, who reproduces the full transcript of a talk by Khaled Abu Toameh, the Muslim Arab journalist of great integrity and solid information whom I frequently site. It’s worth reading for a good number of things you can learn. But my focus is what Abu Toameh says about the PA.
Reviewing what happened when Arafat — who turned out to be totally corrupt — was brought in,he says:
“Most of the money that was sent to the Palestinian Authority literally went down the drain and supported the shopping sprees of Arafat’s wife who was living in Paris. Instead of building us a hospital, Arafat built a casino in Jericho, as if the Palestinian revolution aspired for forty years to get us a casino. And the chutzpah was that he built that casino across the street from a refugee camp. So Palestinians did not see the fruits of peace.
“…The fact that Arafat was crooked didn’t surprise us Palestinians. We were only surprised by the fact that the international community kept giving him money and refused to hold him accountable when he stole our money. Why didn’t they invest something? They didn’t want to believe it.
“When I tried to alert my foreign colleagues in 1995, 1996, and 1997, to the fact that there was corruption in the Palestinian Authority, many of them asked me if I was on the payroll of the Jewish Lobby. I wanted to know where was this Jewish Lobby? If there was one maybe they would pay me.
“I told them: ‘This is what I am hearing. The writing is on the wall. Come and listen to what Palestinians are saying.’ And they told me they weren’t interested in that story. They told me they wanted anti-Israel stories because it made their lives so much easier. They told me they didn’t want to write anything bad about Palestinians, that Arafat was a man of peace and should be given a chance. I heard this from major American journalists, by the way. Leading American journalists. I don’t want to give you their names right now, but I was really frustrated. And angry.”
The more things change, the more they stay the same… This is precisely what the world continues to do with the PA now. Nothing has been learned.
And there’s more:
“[Americans] gave Yasser Arafat money to open a TV and radio station. And on this TV and radio station Arafat said ‘Jihad, jihad, kill the crusaders, kill the Jews, kill the infidels, kill everyone but me.’ Now you may ask yourself why Arafat was inciting against his peace partners in Israel, why was he inciting against the Americans and Europeans who were feeding him? It doesn’t make sense.
“Well, to us it does make sense. This is how our Arab dictators survive. They constantly blame the miseries of our people on the Jews and the West and the Crusaders and the infidels and the Zionist lobby and the imperialists. They use all these slogans. Arab leaders always need to make sure that their people are busy hating somebody else, preferably the Jews and the Americans. Otherwise their people might rebel, and God forbid they might demand reforms and democracy.
“This is exactly what Arafat did, but he did it in Arabic. The international community – and even Israelis – did not want to listen to what Arafat was saying in Arabic. They only cared what he said in English. They said that what he said in English was good.
“I said ‘Excuse me, folks, but in Arabic Arafat is telling people to kill you.’ But they did not want to listen to the incitement.”
And, my friends, the incitement continues in the PA of Mahmoud Abbas — most notably in the textbooks — and still the world pays no attention.
“The question we should ask ourselves in the wake of this scenario,” says Abu Toameh, “is whether or not there is really a partner on the Palestinian side for any deal, let alone a peace agreement. Any kind of deal. Is there really a partner on the Palestinian side? And the answer is simple. No.”
The cease-fire with Hamas is apparently not nearly as close as Arab reports would have had us believe.
Olmert’s office has now released a statement saying that there will be no agreement without the release of Shalit. This doesn’t mean that the government has balked at releasing a large number (1,400?) of prisoners in return for Shalit, but rather that it had to all be arranged at one time. No cease-fire, no opening of crossings, without this part of the deal.
Reports are that there are sources of contention as well. Hamas wants an 18-month cease-fire; we want it to be unlimited in time. That is, they agree to stop launching rockets for a year and a half, after which time there are no promises. That is the traditional Muslim approach. Our approach calls for an end to this. I don’t believe that Hamas would ever, under any circumstances, agree to this. It goes against their revolutionary principles.
Add to this the fact that our government is reported to be saying that the prisoners, if released, couldn’t all go back to Gaza or Judea and Samaria. This is a bit fuzzy, because it’s not clear where they’d go.
And so it continues…
Two Kassam rockets were launched into Israel yesterday, a Grad Katyusha rocket landed near Kibbutz Yavneh overnight, and a bomb was exploded at the Israel-Gaza border this afternoon.
The Israeli Air Force hit a target in Khan Yunis and smuggling tunnels yesterday, and hit weapons manufacturing sites in Jabalyia last night.