It is once more déjà vu. Magnificent speeches bubbling with visions of
reconciliation and goodwill between Israelis and Palestinians. Global media
editorials pontificating and debating whether peace in our time is about to be
consummated, accompanied by demands for Israel to be flexible and
Yet despite all the ritualistic pledges endorsing peaceful
coexistence, the likelihood of meaningful progress is virtually
Fortunately most Israelis no longer delude themselves. They
appreciate that our prime minister is obliged to placate the Obama
administration by participating in a theater of the absurd and act as though
real negotiations were taking place with a genuine peace partner.
credit Binyamin Netanyahu has performed superbly and, to the surprise of many of
his detractors, united the country behind him. In the face of the brutal
pressures exerted against him, it was no mean feat to retain a relationship with
an American president unfavorably disposed toward Israel without capitulating on
In the course of the opening negotiations, Netanyahu
reinforced the message that to achieve a genuine settlement, this country is
willing to compromise on all issues other than those affecting security. In his
Washington address, he said, “We left Lebanon, and we got terror. We left Gaza,
we got terror.
We want to ensure that territory we concede will not be
turned into a third Iranian-sponsored terror enclave aimed at the heart of
Israel. That is why defensible peace requires security arrangements that can
withstand the test of time and the many challenges that will surely confront
In contrast Mahmoud Abbas was adamant that the Palestinian Authority
would not contemplate any compromises. He told Al Kuds newspaper that “we’re not
talking about a Jewish state and we won’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state...
you can’t expect us to accept this.” Interviewed by Al Ayyam he said, “If they
demand concessions on the right of the refugees or the 1967 borders, I will
quit. I can’t allow myself to make even one concession.” He also told the
Egyptian media that while he would contemplate NATO forces being deployed in a
future Palestinian state, he would not tolerate the presence of Jews among NATO
forces and “will not allow even one Israeli to live among us on Palestinian
IT IS surely mind-boggling to suggest that a person holding such
views be considered a “moderate” or “genuine peace partner.” Yet the US is
funding a major far-left advertising campaign directed toward the Israeli public
promoting the falsehood that Abbas is a true peace partner.
There can be
no negotiations when one party refuses to contemplate compromising on anything.
The talks will thus inevitably break down either because Israel will refuse to
extend a total settlement freeze or on some other pretext.
happens, US President Barack Obama will avoid repeating his previous blunder
when he publicly humiliated Israel, treating it like a rogue state. But we
should be under no illusions. Even before the negotiations began, he publicly
called on Israel to make a unilateral concession by extending the settlement
freeze. But after the November 2 congressional elections, intensified
sophisticated US pressure will be directed toward Israel, if not directly via a
wink to the Europeans or the UN.
This will be Netanyahu’s greatest
challenge. Some critics allege that he is following the path of his predecessors
and about to make further concessions without reciprocity. Yet even if that were
true, his government will limit the extent to which he can placate the
Americans. Netanyahu is also aware that if he became exclusively dependent on
Kadima, his survival as prime minister would be limited.
It is also clear
that both Fatah and Hamas are likely to intensify terrorist activities. It was
disconcerting when the government failed to respond to the recent Hamas murders
near Kiryat Arba and made meaningless Oslostyle statements, proclaiming that
terror would not be permitted to undo the peace process. We should remind
ourselves that previous failures to respond militarily to acts of terror
resulted in the erosion of deterrence which emboldened the
Israel is undoubtedly the only country in the world which acts
with such restraint when its citizens are under murderous attack from its
Imagine Mexicans or Canadians cold-bloodedly killing American
civilians, holding street parties celebrating the event while their government
takes credit for the murders and pledges to kill more American civilians. Under
such circumstances any American administration would respond with radical
military action. Nor would it be concerned about humanitarian conditions among
those seeking to murder its citizens.
NETANYAHU’S OTHER problem is that
by continuing to refer to Abbas as “my partner in peace”, he discourages people
from appreciating that his stance in these negotiations is no different than
that of his duplicitous predecessor, the murderous Yasser Arafat. It should be
noted that Abbas failed to explicitly condemn the recent killings by Hamas and
merely noted that the timing of the assassinations “contradicts Palestinian
We are losing the battle of ideas because we are still
reinforcing the illusion that this is merely a conflict over land between two
peoples, promoting the flawed belief that peace can be achieved with a society
whose leaders’ ambitions of achieving statehood are superseded by their primary
objective of bringing an end to Jewish sovereignty in the region.
continue downplaying the criminal nature of Palestinian society such as the
sanctification of “martyrs” engaged in appalling crimes against our civilians,
as well as incitement against Jews and Israelis in PA mosques, in the media and
throughout the educational system. In Ramallah a square was recently named in
honor of Dalal Mugrabi who massacred 37 Israelis on a bus.
A few weeks
ago Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, participated in a ceremony
honoring Amin al-Hindi one of the chief architects of the murder of the Israeli
athletes at the 1972 Olympics.
Even in the highly unlikely event that
Abbas underwent a dramatic change and sought to reach an accommodation,there is
no way that his constituency would permit him to deliver. He is politically
impotent and has unconstitutionally postponed elections for more than a year
knowing that he would be defeated.
What makes these talks even more
surrealistic is that we are only negotiating with half the Palestinians. The
absent dominant partner Hamas, whose charter calls for the murder of all Jews
and boasts of the fact that it will never come to terms with the Jewish state,
would already have displaced the PA in the absence of the IDF.
difficult decisions to be made. Should we support the immediate establishment of
a Palestinian state with interim borders? On the basis of previous withdrawals
without reciprocity, even setting aside the internal domestic upheavals arising
from forcible settlement withdrawals, this would only serve to embolden the
radicals and create major security problems.
The only course is to create
interim accommodation and continue to improve Palestinian living
such time as leaders emerge who recognize us as a Jewish state and are
to coexist with us.
When that happens, Israelis will undoubtedly be
prepared to make major sacrifices. But until then we must remain firm as
simply delusional to make further concessions and comply with the Arab
of undermining our existence in email@example.com