You wake up in the morning when you land in Israel and quickly discover how many important events have slipped through the cracks back in the USA. Regardless of Al Jazeera, CNN, and you name it, Americans tend to lived in an insular world. We know nothing of the wars in Africa or the escalating tensions in the Middle East unless they directly affect us. The result is that the average citizen is caught short when the earth blows open. Don’t we need to remedy that situation?
Let’s start by noting an unreported but important situations in Israel.
Last fall, the PLO petitioned the United Nations for recognition as a state. The appeal has gone nowhere with the result that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas just wrote to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claiming Israeli actions have stripped the Palestinian Authority of its raison d’etre, its reason for existence.
Abbas stated, “As a result of actions taken by successive Israeli governments, the Palestinian National Authority no longer has any authority, and no meaningful jurisdiction in the political, economic territorial and security spheres. … In other words, the PA lost its raison d’etere which, if it continues, will make it unable to honor its commitments.” Abbas refers to the 1993 Olso Accords which brought about the creation of the PA.
What’s going on here?
If memory serves me right, during the Clinton Administration generous offers were made to the Palestinians that would have even given East Jerusalem to them but Yasser Arafat walked out. Privately, he held the view that the Palestinians would never agree until they could reclaim all of the land the state of Israel sits on. Or, to put it in the words of Abba Ebon, “the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They repeatedly sabotaged their own right to existence.
So, what’s really happening here?
Possibly, the Palestinians are creating a rationale for backing out of their previous agreements. We know Hamas and Hezbollah have become the real power brokers in the West Bank. Gaza has turned into a world unto itself. In his letter, Abbas truthfully asserts Israel keeps planting new settlements on disputed land. However, Israel is making the point that time (contrary to Arafat’s view) is not on their side. The longer they wait, the less there is to bargain for.
In reality, Abbas may be reacting to the fact that much of the world has lost interest in the Palestinian cause. The recent Arab Spring has pointed to the real problems in the Middle East and world leaders are no longer paying much attention to Abbas.
As the Abbas letter arrived, Netanyahu sought a face-to-face meeting with Abbas and his office expressing hope for raising the level of talks. Exchanges have been frozen since Jordan hosted a series of exploratory meetings between the two sides.
Having watched these empty negotiations on both sides for some time, I must conclude that Arafat (who took 3 billion dollars to the grave with him) is the real culprit. His behavior exposed the fact that the Palestinians will accept nothing less that the abolishment of Israel. Sorry boys. Ain’t gonna happen! (536 words)
Question: Is there any way the world can help the Palestinians wake up to the impossible position they have put themselves in? Should Israel reverse itself in some way to jump start negotiations?