Analysis: PA's conflicting approaches as different as night and day

Analysis PAs conflicti

The Palestinian Authority's actions and rhetoric, especially in the past few weeks and months, show that hypocrisy has become a major component of its official policy. One sometimes wonders whether the PA that speaks and acts during the day is the same PA that speaks and functions during the night. During the day, the Palestinian Authority acts and speaks as if its leaders had never signed a peace treaty with Israel. During the day, Israel is the enemy that continues to deny the Palestinians their rights, seize their lands, arrest and kill their innocents, and expand existing settlements. But during the night, the Palestinian Authority changes its colors and speaks and acts in a completely different manner. During the night, the Israeli enemy becomes a friend and peace partner with whom it's legitimate to conduct security coordination and eat in fancy restaurants. During Operation Cast Lead, Palestinian security officers in the West Bank provided Israel with valuable intelligence that contributed to the elimination of many Hamas operatives and "military targets." Moreover, the PA even pressured Israel not to stop the war unless Hamas was removed from power. In other words, the Palestinian Authority was telling Israel that it should continue bombing the Gaza Strip until Hamas surrendered. Palestinian officials, including some of Mahmoud Abbas's top aides, did not hide their disappointment when the war ended without the removal or collapse of Hamas. As soon as the war ended, the same Palestinian Authority that had urged Israel to "finish off the job," and that had provided Israel with vital information about Hamas figures and installations in the Gaza Strip, started accusing Israel of committing "war crimes." The PA even appealed to The Hague court to launch an investigation into the alleged war crimes. The Palestinian Minister of Justice, Ali Khashan, was dispatched to The Hague to follow up on the issue with the court's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo. Now the PA, which is holding some 1,000 Hamas "supporters" in its prisons without trial, is urging the UN Human Rights Council to adopt the Goldstone Commission Report in full and to pass it on to the General Assembly for action. The PA's "generals" and "colonels" hold daily meetings with their Israeli counterparts to discuss security-related issues. Unlike ordinary Palestinians, senior Palestinian officials can travel to Israel and anywhere they want thanks to VIP cards and other privileges they receive from the Israeli Defense Ministry. During the night, Palestinian security officials hold secret meetings with their Israeli counterparts. But during the day, the Palestinian Authority is demanding that the same Israeli officials be tried as war criminals. Some of these "war criminals," by the way, are responsible for the fact that the senior PA leaders and their families are able to receive free medical treatment in Israel - a privilege that most Palestinians can only dream about. This hypocrisy is also evident in the PA's approach toward normalization with Israel and the status of the Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem. On the one hand, the Palestinian Authority is publicly combating normalization, exactly as Israel's two other Arab peace partners, Egypt and Jordan, are doing. However, this anti-normalization drive obviously does not apply to the leaders of the PA and their sons, who continue to do business with Israel both openly and secretly. This, in addition to regular meetings that take place - away from the spotlight - between Palestinian government officials, businessmen, journalists and physicians and their Israeli counterparts. These days the PA is leading a fierce campaign against what it calls Israel's efforts to destroy the Aksa Mosque. This campaign intensified immediately after the failed tripartite summit in New York on September 22 that brought Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas together with US President Barack Obama. Abbas went to the meeting against his will and after he had spent the last few months promising the Palestinians that he would not meet with Netanyahu or resume the peace talks until Israel halted construction in the settlements. Abbas was dragged to the summit under immense pressure from the Obama administration. Now that his pride has been hurt and his credibility shattered in the eyes of his constituents, Abbas has stepped up the verbal assault on Israel. Palestinian spokesmen and Abbas advisers have been exploiting every available platform to tell millions of Arabs and Muslims that the Jews are destroying Islam's third holiest site. Earlier this week, this campaign resulted in an outburst of violence in Jerusalem - the worst in years. Israeli government officials have been working hard to explain to their Palestinian counterparts that there is no such thing as an Israeli "conspiracy" to destroy the mosque. Although many Palestinian officials and spokesmen have privately and quietly accepted the Israeli version, they nevertheless continue to shout that the mosque is on the verge of collapse.