It is high time that we ceased indulging in theatrics and spoke the truth. We all desperately yearn for peace, and the vast majority of us do not wish to rule over Arabs. If we could convince ourselves that our neighbors would commit to peaceful coexistence, we would make major sacrifices. But alas, the prospects for a comprehensive settlement in the near future are virtually zero.
Since the Oslo Accords, we have remained in a state of denial, refusing to reconcile with the reality that the duplicitous Palestinian leaders, then Yasser Arafat and today Mahmoud Abbas, rather than seeking to create an independent state, were utilizing terror and diplomacy to dismember the Jewish state in stages. We ignored the relevance of Arafat’s repeated call to his people to heed the passage in the Koran relating to the prophet Muhammad consummating the Al Hudaibiya Treaty with the Koreishi Jews and subsequently reneging and killing them. The message clearly signaled that agreements with Jews and non-Muslims may be violated.
Our passion to achieve peace blinded successive governments into accepting the false premise that Palestinian leaders were peace partners, and repeatedly chant the idiotic mantra that the peace process was irreversible and that “peace in our time” was achievable. This cost the lives of thousands in terror attacks and generated successive wars. In conveying this charade to the world at large, we encouraged the false belief that our conflict with the Arabs was a struggle between two peoples to divide land. We maintained this nonsense even after Arafat and Abbas rebuffed Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, who had offered them virtually all the territory previously occupied by Jordan and Egypt.
The Palestinians polarized this further by insisting that the so-called Arab refugee right of return (a formula for the demise of the Jewish state) was a nonnegotiable component of any peace settlement. The Saudi peace plan, praised by the Americans and some foolish Israelis, incorporated this component. President Barack Obama was informed by the Saudis that until the Israelis accepted the plan in its entirety, he should not bother raising the issue with them.
TODAY, WE face the most intense international pressures we have ever experienced. Many European countries have forsaken us; the Obama administration has distanced itself and absorbed the false Palestinian narrative that the Holocaust was responsible for the creation of the State of Israel.
Obama has now been in office for 12 months and his negative approach and attempts to appease our enemies have backfired. There is a complete stalemate in relation to Iran. Israelis do not trust him. The intransigency of the Palestinians and their unwillingness to make any concessions has led to a breakdown in negotiations for which we are being blamed.
Despite the sweeping concessions offered by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his predecessors and the refusal of the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table, Obama alleged that Israel “still found it hard to make bold gestures” and offensively bracketed Hamas and Likud right-wingers as the principal obstacles to peace.
In fact, the Americans seem to have adopted the Palestinian approach hook, line and sinker. Having abandoned the principal of defensible borders and called on Israel to return to ’67 lines and divide Jerusalem, they are urging that the delineation of future boundaries be dealt with first as a stand-alone issue. But they have yet to reject the Arab right of return.
Under the circumstances, we should be grateful to Abbas for refusing to negotiate. If the Palestinians demand further concessions without reciprocity, it would simply lead to additional confrontations and intensified global pressures.
The most frustrating aspect is that there is little doubt that such negotiations are perceived by all Palestinians – the PA no less than Hamas – merely as phases in their ultimate objective of eliminating Jewish sovereignty in the region. Any differences between them are primarily tactical. At least Hamas openly proclaims its objectives. Its charter is viciously anti-Semitic and urges its followers to kill as many Jews as possible and wipe Israel off the map.
It is time to speak plainly and expose the fact that our “peace partner,” the “moderate” PA, maintains a criminal culture of death and sanctifies the mass murderers within its midst.
Despite repeated exhortations to end anti-Semitic incitement, little has changed. The PA controlled TV, the media and the mosques continue pouring out hatred against the Jews. And from kindergarten onwards the PA educational system idolizes the shahid (the glorious martyr) or suicide bomber as role models.
While uttering endearing words about peaceful coexistence to the foreign media, Abbas proudly provides state pensions to families of suicide bombers.
In recent weeks, a major public square in Ramallah was named to commemorate the 50th birthday of Dalal Mugrabi, the female terrorist who murdered 37 civilians, including 10 children, on a bus in 1978. Both Abbas and the allegedly “moderate” Prime Minister Salam Fayyad participated in the ceremony referring to Mugrabi as a “martyr” (click here to show a clip from Palestinian Authority TV glorifying Dalal Mugrabi, translation provided by Palestinian Media Watch ).
The same “moderate” Fayyad personally paid a condolence call to the family of those who murdered Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai, father of seven, last month. In public addresses, Abbas referred to these murderers, members of his own Fatah, as “martyrs executed cold-bloodedly by Israeli forces.”
Yet the White House continues praising the moderation and leadership qualities of both Abbas and Fayyad.
The PA has yet to curb terrorist affiliates like the Aksa Martyrs Brigades and other armed Fatah militias which continue to engage in acts of terror. Yet we remain indifferent to the US- trained Palestinian security forces that are supplied with Israeli weapons which, as in the past, will probably ultimately be employed against us.
SO WHERE do we go from here? We must stop behaving like performers in an Alice in Wonderland pantomime. Netanyahu should cease pleading for negotiations with an Abbas who is unwilling (or powerless) to make any reciprocal concessions. He is aware that the PA in all likelihood will ultimately either merge with or be taken over by Hamas.
We must now proclaim explicitly that meaningful progress cannot be achieved in the absence of a genuine peace partner, and that we can no longer continue making unilateral concessions which only strengthen Palestinian intransigence. We should continue raising the living standards of the Palestinians and encourage the creation of a middle class in the hope that this will one day encourage them to pressure their leaders into choosing peace over war.
It is also important that our government tell people the truth. That will strengthen our position in the war of ideas and garner stronger support in the US. It may also encourage the Obama administration to desist from pressuring us to continue making unilateral concessions and ease our growing concern that, like Czechoslovakia in the 1930s, we are being offered as a sacrifice on the altar of appeasement.
This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post