I religiously track the news. Whether its on TV, in the newspapers, magazines, the where-evers, I attempt to stay in touch with the world. Lately I’ve noticed the strange absence of some of the most important stories reporting events in the Middle East. Egypt is still embroiled in the military repressing all opposition as Sisi runs for president. No sight of that story in the newspapers. The civil war in Syria gets a blip as multitudes continue to be killed but that’s about it. Sometime ago, I reported on the efforts of Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayp Erdogan’s attempts to recreate the Ottoman empire and cement relations with Iran. Ever hear about his recent struggles to pull off that coupe? Sorry. Not a peep.
One of the most underreported stories is the failure of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating progress. Months ago, I predicted this was where the road would lead. However, no media outlet is relating that it has happened, much less the details for the collapse. So, here’s the update you need to know.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party signed a unity pact in Gaza City with its previously militant rival Hamas. This action was taken when the PLO knew full well Israel would not negotiate with any group supported by an Islamist terror organization. In other words, the PLO shut down the talks by going out the back door, knowing this tactic would force the Israelis to back away – then Israel could be blamed for the failure. Just another day’s work in the world of parliamentary maneuvering.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about this failure on Holocaust Remembrance Day noting that Abbas had formed an alliance with an Holocaust-denying terrorist organization that continues to attempt to kill Jews. He underlined the fact that the talks were doomed before they started because the Palestinians have one major objective: to destroy Israel. You can’t reason with a gun barrel.
Perhaps, the only person who really thought negotiations might go somewhere was US Secretary of State John Kerry. It is not clear why he thought so after a century of conflict, 20 years of failed negotiations, and the efforts of countless presidents before him. During the nine months of so-called talks, nothing changed except Kerry’s credibility with the Israeli public continued to drop. No one can say that Kerry’s 30 year history of having a pro-Israel record in the Senate is not genuine. However, he simply ignored the handwriting on the wall.
And what is it like on the PLO side? On April 21, six rockets were fired from Gaza. One missile landed in a street in the city of Sderot, but no one was hurt. The Israeli Air Force responded by attacking targets in Gaza. Will this exchange stop? Sorry. No!
The possibility of a negotiated settlement is nowhere on the horizon. The Arabs will not change their minds and Israeli won’t back off. To get an answer, you may have to wait until the next century comes rolling along.