There are off-the-record sources saying West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas told the
Americans he wanted Israel’s blockade of Gaza to continue. Abbas denies it, of
course, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true.
After all, if Israel
lifts the blockade, Hamas will be able to tell Palestinians: “We chased the
Zionists out of Gaza with resistance, with jihad, and look at the West Bank –
they’re everywhere, taking our land, standing over us with their guns. The
collaborators Abbas and Fayyad have to beg ‘Mr. Bibi’ to lift a few checkpoints,
and then they’re expected to say thank you.”
Which Palestinian will be
able to argue with Hamas? In principle, I want the blockade of Gaza to
not worried about shiploads of weapons coming in – there are shiploads
weapons coming into Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc. and we do
fine. At any rate, Hamas has already brought in thousands of rockets
tunnels, some can already hit Tel Aviv, and there are lots more on the
No, what worries me most about lifting the blockade is that we will
also be lifting the Hamasniks even higher, while undercutting Abbas and
even worse than we’ve been doing already for years. This is the
self-defeating strategy anyone could invent.
We’re looking at a line of
“freedom flotillas” as far as the eye can see, and each one is going to
wonders for Hamas’s cause – in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as well
Meanwhile, we’re leaving Abbas and Fayyad with a handful of
Our prime minister tells them, “Come on and negotiate,” yet the
“Palestinian state” he offers them comes with so many restrictions that
actually no more than local autonomy with a flag. He goes back on a
territorial offers, from Ehud Barak’s to Ehud Olmert’s, then pretends to
why Abbas doesn’t jump at the chance to talk peace.
ISRAEL HAS never
faced Palestinian leaders even remotely as moderate, as businesslike, as
demonstratively anti-terrorism as Abbas and Fayyad.
The alternative to
them is Hamas.
And by offering Abbas and Fayyad nothing, Israel is
helping Hamas win.
This is worse than missing an opportunity. This is
dodo bird time.
There is only one way Israel can convince the world to
let it maintain the blockade on Gaza, and only one way Israel can
morally: By moving as urgently as possible to true Palestinian statehood
West Bank under Abbas’s and Fayyad’s leadership, with the ultimate goal
for them to take over Gaza, too.
And after 43 years of occupation, moving
urgently means starting the process of relinquishing settlements on the
of the security barrier right now. It means recognizing Palestine on the
of the ’67 borders with land swaps and a capital in Arab east Jerusalem –
without the right of return – and negotiating the details, including
international custody over Jerusalem’s “holy basin,” with Abbas.
governments of the democratic world, and many of the nondemocratic
support this goal because it’s been the international consensus solution
Mideast conflict since the Six Day War.
Ending the occupation in the West
Bank is the only answer to the Iranian and Lebanese aid ships sailing
and the others to follow.
Empowering Palestinian moderates is the only
answer to Hamas.
There is no other alternative to the blackening future
that’s staring this country in the face.
The choice is Hamas or Abbas. If
we don’t choose very soon, the choice will be made for us.