If we put aside the timing (three weeks before the elections) and the identity
of the speaker (President Shimon Peres), we are left only with the content of
the claim: “It is possible to reach a peace agreement with PA President Mahmoud
If such is the case, perhaps, Mr. President, you can
explain why there isn’t already a signed peace deal? At Camp David in 2000,
Yasser Arafat rejected prime minister Ehud Barak’s peace offer.
president Bill Clinton blamed Arafat for the failure of the talks, and just
recently his merry widow, Suha, has admitted what was already known: Arafat
planned the wave of terrorism that followed Camp David.
Okay, the naive
will say, but that was Arafat, the terrorist chief with a shameful reputation;
now we have Abbas.
Well, what happened between Abbas and prime minister
Ehud Olmert at the Annapolis negotiations in 2007? In a recent interview with
Smadar Perry – a reporter for Yediot Aharonot – Abbas claimed that Israel and
the Palestinians were on the verge of signing an agreement, and it was only the
early elections called in Israel that prevented the long-yearned-for signing of
I am trying to find a civilized way to express myself
while being faithful to the facts of the matter, but there is no other way to
say it: Abbas is lying.
The talks took place in November 2007, Ehud
Olmert resigned almost a year later, and the elections were held in 2009. A
peace agreement was not agreed to because Abbas turned down Olmert’s exceedingly
However, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cannot make
the same offers made by Barak and Olmert. They both proposed more than the
Israeli public is ready to accept, and more than Israel can allow itself to
concede. Abbas rejected Olmert’s offer, so there is no way he can strike a peace
deal with Netanyahu.
It’s simple and certain. Every attempt to sit down
and reach agreement on the issues under dispute – Jerusalem, refugees, borders,
etc. – has failed, time after time.
President Peres can make endless
speeches about nanotechnology, embrace Mark Zuckerberg, and appear to be
innovative and expansive in his views, but his proposal to resolve the conflict
with the Palestinians is tantamount to suggesting that we return to using the
Zeppelin airships again.
The Zeppelins were not that successful back
then, and one even exploded. Exactly like Peres’s solutions for accommodating
The whole idea, to manage to make a pact with Abbas
quickly, before Hamas takes over the West Bank, is ridiculous. Abbas doesn’t
have the courage to reach an agreement, and he has no legitimacy with his own
The Palestinian public is not prepared to accept concessions by
its leaders, something that is necessary for successful
Each side has to make concessions.
We need time and
calm. Both sides can be creative – the Palestinians can establish a state in the
so-called Area A (Palestinian-controlled territory) and not give up on their
The Palestinians can dream about the refugees returning, and the
Western Wall, and anything they else they want to.
And we will stay where
we are, life will continue, and 20 years will pass. In the meantime, perhaps the
shaky regime in Jordan will fall and the Palestinians can have a really big
state – the whole of Jordan and Area A – and everyone will be happy.
the king and his family might feel safer and have a stronger sense of belonging
in their home in London.
Let the Palestinians prove that their goal is a
state for their own people, rather than what it appears to be now: The
destruction of Israel.
Gilad Sharon, son of former prime minister Ariel
Sharon, is author of Sharon: The Life of a Leader.