Obama's unlikely breakthrough

As much as President Barack Obama would like to wave his wand over a hat and declare a new Middle East reality, peace is a two-way street.

By BATSHEVA A. NEUER
November 20, 2013 22:26
4 minute read.
US President Barack Obama.

Obama White House Briefing Room 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

 
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In a statement after meeting with Palestinian and American officials on Monday morning, Meretz chief Zehava Gal-On said that as of 2014 the Obama administration“ plans to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough” based on a “new diplomatic program” with Israel reverting to “pre-1967 lines.”

Nice thought. But as much as President Barack Obama would like to wave his wand over a hat and declare a new Middle East reality, with Israel stripped of her borders, peace is a two-way street. And with the looks of the Israeli- Palestinian political climate that street sign still has one arrow. Let’s review the peaceful steps that the Palestinians have taken recently.

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In September alone two Israelis were murdered. One, an IDF sergeant, Tomer Hazan, was lured by a Palestinian co-worker, Nidal Amar, into Kalkilya where he was shot in an open field and dumped into a well. Amar planned to use Hazan’s body as a bargaining chip for his brother, a Fatah Tanzim terrorist serving time in an Israeli prison for his role in several terror attacks.

The other soldier, Staff Sergeant Gal Kobi, was murdered by a Palestinian sniper while on duty outside of the Cave of Patriarchs. The month saw no less than 129 attacks – including 117 firebombs – 25 of which were in Jerusalem.

And then there is the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas – hardly a true partner for peace. Instead of expressing his satires in Shakespearean soliloquies and couplets, Abbas expresses them in phony, interim deals and gross perversions of the justice system. Just this past week we witnessed the embarrassing fruits of Abbas’ twisted labor with the release of 26 terrorists from Israeli prison.

In the wake of their release, the media was once again reticent about the elephant in the room: peace in Israel is hindered because of Palestinian refusal to accept a Jewish state, not because of imprisoned murderers. And certainly a tactical blunder like liberating terrorists isn’t about to get things on the right foot.

With eyes wide shut, the Obama administration forgets (or ignores) that Abbas leads a party – whose meaning is conquest by means of jihad – that began “hindering peace” pre-settlements, pre-prisoners. In fact, Fatah’s emblem is a grenade and crossed rifles superimposed on the map of Israel, highlighting its dedication to destroying the Jewish state.

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In 1965, years before gun-wielding settler vigilantes occupied Gush Katif or the West Bank, dozens of raids were carried out by Fatah from Lebanon, Syria and then Egypt-occupied Gaza. Without the backdrop of 1967 borders, what was Israel’s crime besides its own existence? Nothing. And that’s the point. That the prisoner release and any other future, concrete concession that Israel makes misses the point entirely of what this endless, unilateral war is about. That instead of drawing lines Abbas would prove more sincere if he took out a pen of white-out.

Because that’s what this is really about: Israel’s obliteration.

It’s a pretty big, ugly elephant – centered in all major Palestinian charters – for Obama to miss. No matter how hard he and his administration try. If Martin Luther King, Jr., was entitled to dream, shouldn’t Obama? Unlike King, who had the stable Kennedy administration as his audience, Obama is partially relying on a people whose promises for peace have thus far proven lamentable.

Only one day after the prisoner release, reports surfaced that Saeb Erekat, the head of the PLO negotiating team, would resign due to Israel’s “lack of commitment to the peace process.” In fact, on the same day, the PA announced it was seriously considering filing an immediate complaint against Israel to international courts in a bid to halt construction in the settlement blocs – the same construction blocs that they had already agreed on in July.

The peace process that was born in Oslo and died in the following decade is in a bid for resuscitation. And though the players are different, the prospects are the same – Israel lacked then and continues to lack a true partner for peace.

Instead, it is left with one-night-stand opportunists like Abbas, an international audience distorting its every move and a naïve US administration clinging to the dubious belief that if you will peace, it is no dream. Right proposition, wrong people.

Until the Palestinian nation makes internal changes that prove its worthiness of a peace treaty no concessions can be made by the Israelis. The past 20 years of the peace process have witnessed thousands of victims on both sides. But Obama choosing to be dreamy-eyed and investing in a satirist like Abbas and his joker followers may lead to the greatest calamity of all: Israel losing faith in a real and lasting peace.

The author is a freelance writer.

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