Abbas speaks Obama looks on.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
The latest drive-by shootings in Judea and Samaria are no bolt from the blue.
They were eminently predictable. Making an effort to restart a peace process in
our region – its actual prospects for success notwithstanding – is akin to
stirring a mega-hornets’ nest.
Conventional wisdom depicts Mahmoud
Abbas’s Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority as beset by extremist elements
spearheaded foremost by the Gazabased Hamas.
This postulate resonated
consistently in reactions by US President Barack Obama, his Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton and even Abbas himself to the slaying last week of four Israelis
(as well as a nearly full-term unborn baby). They all subscribed to the theory
that this was part of a design to derail the peace process.
consequently, is viewed almost as much as the victim of the purported extremists
as the Israeli civilians who were executed cold-bloodedly at close
But is this an accurate picture? It is true that the noholds-
barred struggle between Abbas’s Fatah faction and its Hamas rival continues
unresolved. Were it not for the Israeli forces deployed in the West Bank,
indeed, it is likely that Fatah would have long ago lost its last foothold. The
PA security forces, trained under US supervision, have brought a rare sense of
law and order to the Palestinian cities, but only the IDF’s presence – as Abbas
knows full well – deters Hamas from attempting to replicate, in the West Bank,
its violent 2007 takeover of Gaza.
Unfortunately, the complex reality
doesn’t end there.
In a climate in which Israel is routinely
delegitimized and demonized, any new Hamas offensive, bitter experience
suggests, tends to “oblige” Fatah’s own Al-Aksa Brigades and their like to prove
that they can spill no less Jewish blood. The concern now is that competition
will be renewed for the “glory” of who can inflict more pain on
ABBAS, WHO on Wednesday at the White House spoke hearteningly of
his desire to prevent any more blood being spilled on either side of our
conflict, may be far better intentioned than his malevolent predecessor
Arafat. But he, too, has failed to stem the tide of anti- Israel
he, too, continues to preside over Fatah gatherings where unchanging
to the very fact of Israel’s existence is the central theme.
the simplistic depiction of Abbas and his Fatah stalwarts trying to
in a bid to stem the terrorist tide is unfortunately inaccurate. So too
notion that terrorist acts are perpetrated by fanatics far outside the
consensus and devoid of even minimal support within the Palestinian
This misrepresentation unhelpfully belittles the complexities of
peacemaking, and creates a skewed image of terrorists who are as
with average Palestinians as isolated Jewish extremists are out-of-sync
average Israelis. Mainstream Israeli society sincerely rejects extremist
violence, which is consequently relatively rare. Palestinian terrorists
similarly ostracized – and Abbas is at least partly responsible for
Whether he has been disinclined to counter the phenomenon, or felt
himself too weak to do so, terrorists past and present are revered and
under his aegis.
Examples abound. The Ramallah street that houses the new
presidential compound was named for arch-terrorist Yihye Ayash, who
notoriety in the mid-1990s as the “engineer.”
His professional specialty
was rigging explosives designed to take as many lives as possible.
Ayash was an anti-Oslo saboteur, a fact that makes it doubly troubling
PA, born of the Oslo Accords, would even consider commemorating Ayash in
constitutes an affront to the very notion of coexistence and a gross
of the Oslo premise.
The glorification of “heroic” terrorists, “martyred”
in the cause of murdering Israelis, is manifest in the streets named
the honors bestowed upon them, the school hours devoted to them, the
broadcasts that laud them, and the agitation to release even the
mass-murderers among them. Any and all of this inherently contradict the
a peace process.
Delegitimizing and de-glorifying terror, indeed, is a
prerequisite for coexistence – a necessary step en route to actually
terror, as peace partners must.
The ostensibly shared objective of Abbas
and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, for our two peoples to live “as
and partners forever,” to quote Abbas, is simply irreconcilable with a
in which Palestinians are taught, from the cradle, to venerate the
Israelis. Change that climate, and our yearned-for peace becomes a