recent article in The Atlantic about “The Tragedy of Mahmoud Abbas” noted: “In him, the world saw a reformist, a leader who could get the Palestinians to the table and possibly clear the hurdle of the two-state solution.”
This was the mythical Abbas who never really existed. But this myth allowed the Palestinian Authority president to become the world’s favorite Palestinian.
Only now, according to the same article, has the world woken up to the realization that Abas has “morphed into a bureaucratic tyrant at home, hostile to America and downright incendiary towards Israel.”
The truth is that Abbas was never a moderate, never recognized as a leader of the Palestinians and never willing or able to reach a peace agreement with Israel.
Who said that Palestinians have no respect for Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab countries? They do.
Palestinians have respect for the money of their Arab brethren. The respect they lack is for the heads of the Arab states, and the regimes and royal families there.
It is important to take this into consideration in light of the growing talk about Saudi Arabia’s effort to help the Trump Administration market a comprehensive peace plan for the Middle East, the details of which remain intriguingly mysterious.
Last week, the Saudis unexpectedly summoned Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to Riyadh for talks on Trump’s “ultimate solution” for the Israeli-Arab conflict, reportedly being promoted by Jared Kushner.
According to unconfirmed reports, the Saudis pressured Abbas to endorse the Trump Administration’s “peace plan.” Abbas was reportedly told that he had no choice but to accept the plan or resign. At this stage, it remains unclear how Abbas responded to the Saudi “ultimatum.”
I never thought I would concur with anything written by veteran Israeli “peace” activist Uri Avnery, but I find myself in full agreement with his recent prognosis that “sheer stupidity plays a major role in the history of nations” and that the longstanding rejection of the two-state solution has been nothing short of grand idiocy.
But it is here that our consensus ends. For rather than look at the historical record of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and draw the self-evident conclusions, Avnery retreats into the counterfactual fantasyland in which he has been living for decades. “When I pointed this out [i.e., the two-state solution], right after the 1948 war,” he writes, “I was more or less alone. Now this is a worldwide consensus, everywhere except in Israel.”
Ignoring the vainglorious (mis)appropriation of the two-state solution by the then 25-year-old Avnery, this assertion is not only unfounded but the inverse of the truth. Far from being averse to the idea, the Zionist leadership accepted the two-state solution as early as 1937 when it was first raised by a British commission of inquiry headed by Lord Peel.
And while this acceptance was somewhat half-hearted given that the proposed Jewish state occupied a mere 15% of the mandate territory west of the Jordan river, it was the Zionist leadership that 10 years later spearheaded the international campaign for the two-state solution that culminated in the UN partition resolution of November 1947.
As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas are moving forward towards implementing their “reconciliation” agreement, we are already getting an idea of what this new partnership is going to look like.
Abbas is trying to sell the agreement to the world as a deal that enables him and his Palestinian Authority (PA) to return to the Gaza Strip and assume full control there. He and his PA officials and spokesmen have also been working hard to convince the international community that only good will come out of the “reconciliation” agreement and that Hamas is even headed toward moderation and pragmatism.
However, Abbas and the PA seem to be engaged in yet another bid to deceive and lie to the international community.
Just last week, Israel foiled another plan by Hamas to dig a terror tunnel deep into Israeli territory.
The Guardian’s efforts to amplify the “injustice” of Israel’s continued existence in the context of the Balfour Centennial went into high gear when they published an op-ed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The op-ed included nearly every distortion and lie within what’s known as the ‘Palestinian narrative.’
Here are some of Abbas’ claims from his missive (“Britain must atone for the Balfour declaration — and 100 years of suffering,”).
[Balfour] disregard[ed] the political rights of those who already lived there.
The language used by Abbas (“those who already lived there”) buttresses the broader narrative, advanced repeatedly by Palestinian leaders, in their media and education system, that falsely frames Jews as interlopers with no historical or religious connection to the land of Israel.
In fact, Jews “already lived there” when Balfour was issued. Jews are an indigenous people to the land, and small Jewish communities remained even after their exile in 70 CE, during Byzantine, Muslim and Crusader rule. There has been a continuous Jewish presence in the Land of Israel for more than 3,000 years.
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Rather than entrench itself in its century-long rejection of the “other” at the certain cost of prolonging its people’s suffering, the Palestinian leadership should accept the legitimacy of Jewish statehood. This was, in fact, acknowledged 100 years ago by the international community, including the world’s foremost Muslim power, the head of the pan-Arab movement, and most Palestinian Arabs.
“The Balfour Declaration promised Palestine – over which Britain had no legal right – to a people who had no claim whatsoever to the country, nor did even live there.”
So goes the standard Palestinian indictment of the British government’s pledge to facilitate “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” provided that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”
It’s an emotionally gripping claim, but is also the inverse of the truth in at least three key respects. Britain had the right to make the declaration; the Jewish people had a claim to Palestine deriving from a millenarian attachment to the land; and no other nation that could stake a similar claim existed at the time.
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Hamas modified its position on Israel after reconciling with the Palestinian Authority.
Almost immediately after agreeing to reconcile with the Palestinian Authority, Hamas made clear its positions toward Israel have not changed. In a speech in Gaza, Yayha Sinwar, the leader of Hamas said, “Gone is the time in which Hamas discussed recognition of Israel. The discussion now is about when we will wipe out Israel” (Elior Levy, “Hamas leader Sinwar: Hamas will never recognize Israel,” Ynet, October 19, 2017).
Hamas Deputy Political Chief Saleh el-Arouri traveled to Iran, and declared that Hamas will never agree to lay down arms, recognize the Zionist regime of Israel or sever its ties with the Islamic Republic (“Hamas Never to Recognize Israel: Official,” Tasnim News Agency, October 24, 2017).
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Despite vocal and self-righteous claims to the contrary, Palestinian leaders continue to incite their people and the rest of the Arab and Muslim world against Israel and Jews. For the past two and a half years, these leaders have been accusing Israel and Jews of seeking to turn the Israeli-Arab conflict into a religious one. The accusation refers specifically to visits by Jews to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The truth, however, is just the opposite: it is the Palestinians that have been aiming at every turn to transform the political and territorial conflict into a religious one.
By turning the conflict into a religious one, the Palestinians are hoping to avoid any discussion about important issues such as security, borders, the status of Jerusalem, anti-Israel incitement and assaults on public freedoms under the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas. Palestinian leaders do not feel comfortable discussing any of these issues; that is why they prefer to make the debate appear as if it is about religious issues.
Palestinian leaders are also hoping that the entire Islamic world will rally against Israel once they are told that Islamic holy sites are allegedly being targeted and desecrated by Jews.
The Palestinian Authority is toe-to-toe with Hamas in this unceasing incitement. The two rival Palestinian parties may disagree about almost everything, but when it comes to libeling Israel and Jews, they have no differences.
Jewish tours of the Temple Mount in the past two and a half years, contrary to Palestinian claims, have not affected the “status quo” or existing state of affairs at the holy site whatsoever. The Islamic holy sites, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, have not been “defiled” or “destroyed” as the result of the presence of Jews at the Temple Mount. More significantly, Muslims’ access to their holy sites on the Temple Mount remains unchanged. Every day, thousands of Muslim worshippers converge on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock to perform prayers. On Fridays, the number of Muslim worshippers is sometimes estimated at tens of thousands.
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Palestinian reconciliation is a step toward peace.
The announcement that the leadership of the Palestinian Authority has signed a reconciliation agreement with Hamas to bring the Gaza Strip under the PA’s control is more likely to hamper efforts to achieve peace than to enhance them. Based on history, it is also uncertain whether the reconciliation will last as prior deals collapsed before they were implemented.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has wanted to resume responsibility for Gaza ever since Hamas seized power in what amounted to a coup in 2007. He did not have the power to do so, but a variety of factors made it possible for him to reach a deal with the help of the mediation of the Egyptian government.
Perhaps the most important variable has been the erosion of Hamas’s position in Gaza. Rather than hurt Israel, the group’s terror campaign only led to the worsening of the plight of Gazans. Israel’s military operations caused some suffering, but the inability of Hamas to govern and provide basic services has been more devastating to the public. Hamas won the last election because of the corruption of the Palestinian Authority and the group’s reputation for attending to the social welfare of the people. Ten years later, it has become apparent that Hamas is also corrupt – it siphons aid and resources for its fighters at the expense of the people – and unable to meet the basic needs of the people as unemployment has reached epidemic proportions and they literally cannot keep the lights on.
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In light of the recent national unity deal between Fatah and Hamas, Palestinian officials of all stripes continue to announce their true objective: destroying Israel.
The official Palestinian mission to Colombia issued a tweet Thursday calling for Israel’s demise, citing a quote from former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
“Our goal is the end of Israel, and there can be no compromises or mediations…. We don’t want peace. We want WAR and victory — Yasser Arafat,” read the Spanish-language tweet, according to the Times of Israel.
It was deleted after Israel’s Channel 1 television reported on it.
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