I wrote last about Daniel Pipes speculation that Palestinian nationalism may have run its course. An article by Youssef Ibrahim – an Egyptian-born American journalist — examines the same theme but addresses in particular the fury and disappointment Arab states are feeling towards the Palestinians. Late last week, Ibrahim wrote:
“…the Egyptian press has become unhinged, spewing vile denunciations of what is universally known as "the cause" — support for the Palestinian Arabs — and describing it as dead.
“Kuwaitis…also dropped all restraint. ‘Palestinians are neither a modernized nor a civilized people,’ Ahmad Al Bughdadi wrote Monday in Al Siyassah, an influential Kuwaiti daily. ‘They are not statesmen. If what happened in Gaza is what they do without a state, what then shall they do when they get one?’
“If there could be an editorial coup de grace, it surely was delivered by no less than Abdelbari Atwan, undoubtedly the Palestinian Arabs most influential and respected journalist…
“Writing in the London-based Al Quds International, his painfully felt commentary, ‘Yes, We Have Lost the World’s Respect,’ argued that ‘the cause’ may have lost its legitimacy: ‘Many, myself among them, find it difficult to speak of Israeli crimes against our people in view of what we have now done,’ Mr. Atwan wrote. ‘I never thought the day would come when we would see Palestinians throwing other Palestinians from the tops of buildings to their death, Palestinians attacking other Palestinians to tear their bodies with knives, Palestinians stripping others naked to drag them through the streets.’"
And so, we have not seen the last of this yet and perhaps the Palestinians have indeed done themselves in. The Saudis are particularly enraged because they worked so hard to cement the Mecca agreement. As reported by Ibrahim, a well known commentator in a Saudi daily wrote:
"We need to tell them the only thing they have proven over 50 years is that they are adolescents who cannot and should not be trusted to run institutions of state or any other important matters."
How refreshing this is! They are saying what every Western leader should be saying but remains too politically correct to admit out loud.
Unfortunately, in spite of hints of significant change in the situation vis-à-vis the Palestinians and their call for a state, the summit – with Olmert, Abbas, Mubarek and Abdullah — is being held today in Sharm El Sheikh, with the stated goal of fostering that most ill-advised state. What will transpire is fairly predictable, with Israel agreeing to: release PA customs duties and VAT funds collected by Israel; continue humanitarian assistance to Gaza and open the Kerem Shalom crossing to the passage of people and cargo; reissue VIP cards to Palestinians; allow the transfer of armored cars to Fatah forces in Judea and Samaria; and renew security cooperation there.
In general, pressure on Israel is being stepped up now. There are demands, once again, that we release that arch terrorist Marwan Barghouti in order to bring “stability” to the PA.
And Hamas has released on its website an audio message from captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shallit, who says his health is failing and he is sorry Israel hasn’t been concerned enough about him to comply with his captor’s demands. Israel says this cruel gambit changes nothing.
Israel’s Channel 2 reported yesterday that Shalit is being held in an underground room inside a booby-trapped building to Rafah. The room can be reached by climbing down a ladder through a 15-meter deep shaft lined with explosives.
Olmert said no last week to Condoleezza Rice with regard to a suggestion she made that final status negotiations be held now. She proposed a “shelf agreement” in which the parameters of a future Palestinian state be set out now, but not yet implemented because of Abbas’s weakness. This would give the Palestinians “hope.”
This is nothing short of breathtaking stupidity. For her to think that we should make all sorts of concessions on key issues such refugees, Jerusalem and borders when Abbas has nothing to offer in terms of a civil society and cessation of terrorism! Olmert is adamantly opposed.
Yuval Diskin, head of Shin Bet, in a report to the Cabinet yesterday, said that Hamas is planning a suicide attack inside of Israel to weaken Abbas.
Fatah in Judea and Samaria, he says, “is dismantled and divided…It has no leadership; there is no one person running things."
There are rumors in the air of Olmert intentions to form a unity government, but they seem unfounded. The Likud has voted unanimously to stay in the opposition.