PM Netanyahu met Obama this week with smiles, photos, expressions of love between Michelle and Sara, and so forth. And as always, the content of the discussion was “what concessions will Israel make in order to ‘move the peace process forward’?”
In an interview with the irritating George Stephanopolus on ABC this morning, the conversation went this way:
Stephanopolous: So you’re open to extending the [settlement] freeze?
Netanyahu: I’m open to beginning peace negotiations now, and that’s what I want to do. And by the way, I’ve been open for the last year and a quarter. I think we’ve wasted a lot of time with these kinds of excuses, preconditions, all sorts of things that are packed in the way of a simple action.
You know, you’ve seen these pictures of peace conferences. Let’s put it in the Middle East as a peace tent. We’re sitting in the tent, we’re waiting for Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, to sit on the other side, across the table, in the tent. And the Palestinians say, we won’t even enter the tent before the tent or the one before that tent as well.
I say, just fold the tents, get into the main arena, engage in negotiations. Let’s not waste our energies on ancillary things, on minor things. Let’s try to resolve the issues of security, territory, refugees, water. These are huge issues. I think, I’m confident that if I’m convinced that our security needs are met, I think I can bring the peace that the majority of the people of Israel will support. And what we’d really like to see is that the Palestinians understand that we expect them to end the conflict. That the state that they will receive will not be a platform for additional conflicts against Israel, but an end to the conflict with solid security.
The last sentence is almost the whole story. And it is part of the reason that the whole process is a stupid, worthless charade.
The official Palestinian Authority (PA) position, as expressed by the Palestinian Arab media and educational system — for details ad nauseum, see Palestinian Media Watch — is that all of ‘Palestine’ from the river to the sea belongs to them:
Palestinian Arab heroes are men and women who have murdered Jewish men, women and children in the name of ‘Palestine’:
Abbas has never said that a peace treaty would end the conflict, and he has never agreed to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people. He has only said that under certain conditions he would agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state in the territories.
These are not technical issues like water rights and delineation of borders. They represent a non-acceptance of the idea of peace, and point to the likelihood of continued violence and terrorism — from a far more dangerous strategic position.
Today’s ‘peace process’ is the direct descendant of the Oslo accord, which I believe to be one of the greatest policy errors Israel has made since 1948 (another was the decision to place control of the Temple Mount in the hands of the Muslim waqf in 1967). Israel agreed to accept the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian Arabs, and resurrected Yasser Arafat, giving him weapons, power and money. Arafat — the political heir of the Nazi Mufti al-Husseini, simply lied ahout his intentions, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians. And Abbas is the heir of Arafat.
But as I said, this is only part of the reason that the process is stupid and worthless.
The other part is Hamas. Hamas, unlike the PLO, doesn’t even pretend to want to end the conflict and is quite outspoken about its antisemitic ideology. Hamas is far more popular among Palestinians than Fatah, the party of Arafat and Abbas, and much more powerful militarily. The US is trying to train Abbas’ forces to the point that they will be able to resist Hamas, but — like similar attempts in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan — you can’t buy the kind of zeal that animates the Hamas fighters. So even if the Palestinian Authority soldiers don’t end up fighting Israel, it’s highly unlikely that they will risk their lives to prevent a Hamas takeover once the IDF is out of the territories.
Netanyahu knows all this, but he is being forced to go through the motions by Obama.
The original motivation of the Israeli Oslo planners and President Clinton was to bring about peace. They were unfortunately naive about their partner, who not only did not intend to end the conflict, but did his best to educate the Palestinian Arabs, especially the youth, to hate Jews and Israelis and prepare to fight them (and this effort continues under Abbas).
But the motivation today of the outside players — the US, the Europeans, etc. has changed.
It is no longer to bring about peace. The primary objective now is to create a Palestinian state. This is justified by post-colonialist ideology, the misuse of the idea of human rights, and other left-wing political theory. It is also probably motivated by a desire to appease one of the perennial sources of anti-Jewish hatred, Saudi Arabia (yes, I said anti-Jewish, not just anti-Zionist).
Israel has chosen to to pretend that everyone involved wants peace. But this is ineffective as public relations, because then Israeli objections to the concessions demanded make it look as though it is Israel that’s obstructing progress. Perhaps a better strategy would be to expose the motivations of all of the parties.
This article claims that there is an agreement between Obama and the Saudi king. Is it true? I don’t know, but certainly Israel’s Foreign Ministry can find out.