The Palestinian Authority renowned for its bizarre proclamations has now threatened that it would unilaterally abrogate the Oslo Accords if the peace talks break down.
For ten months, Mahmoud Abbas refused to indulge in direct negotiations with us, relying on the Obama Administration to act as their interlocutors and pressure us into providing further concessions without reciprocity. Now, after the ten month settlement construction freeze expired, Abbas informs us that if we do not extend it, he refuses to negotiate. The man on the moon would surely conclude by such behavior that the Palestinians won the war of aggression designed to annihilate us and that we Israelis are the supplicants.
But topping the absurdity of this theatre of the absurd is the threat by PA spokesmen, Yasser Aboud, to abort the Oslo Accords if the negotiations break down. Needless to say a “breakdown” is regarded as Israel not acceding to all Palestinian demands.
We know the Palestinian end game in negotiations. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had offered Abbas concessions that neither the Knesset nor the people of Israel would ever have endorsed. These included foregoing indefensible borders by returning to the 1949 armistice lines, enabling the Palestinians to assume control of the Temple Mount and even making a preliminary offer to accept 100,000 Palestinian “refugees”. Yet these offers were rejected by Abbas.
I am reminded of the last conversation I had with Rabin before his assassination. I asked him: “What would your response be if the Palestinians made absolutely unreasonable demands?” Rabin replied that if Arafat sought to divide Jerusalem or was not prepared to concede that Israel needed defensible borders he would conclude that his “gamble for peace” had failed and would feel obliged to inform Israelis that they would have to await a new generation of Palestinian leaders before making tangible progress towards attaining a durable peace.
To be fair, no-one can say with any certainty what Rabin’s views would be today as the entire political spectrum has changed dramatically. However, I am bemused when I hear people on the far left exploiting Rabin’s memory and distorting his views in order to promote policies to which, at least during his lifetime, he would have adamantly opposed. Indeed, on the basis of his previous record, Rabin would probably not have placated the Palestinians or the Americans to the same extent as Netanyahu.
The current rumors mills suggest the long suffering Netanyahu is still seeking to mollify Obama by offering to limit major construction in the major settlement blocs that will unquestionably remain within Israel along the lines of de facto agreement which prevailed between the Israeli government and the Bush administration.
But aside from placating the Americans, Netanyahu is under no illusions and must realize that there is absolutely no chance of achieving a real settlement. Indeed, some say that a total breakdown might be a blessing in disguise because if negotiations do take place, nothing is more certain than the fact that whatever is offered to the Palestinians will not satisfy them, we will be blamed for the breakdown and be subject to even greater global pressure to make unilateral concessions.
This scenario will apply irrespective of the outcome of the Congressional elections. Obama will still control foreign policy and being weaker on the domestic level may even encourage him to intensify his involvement in foreign affairs. When the negotiations inevitably break down, many predict that he will begin pressuring us to return to indefensible borders based on the 1949 armistice lines.
It does not take a genius to realize that this entire process is designed to extract further concessions from Israel which the Palestinians would insist become the benchmark for the next round negotiations as they doggedly pursue their objective of dismantling us in stages.
Despite all the concessions that we made, the Palestinians and Arabs refused to even reciprocate with gestures. Abbas has a forked tongue and conveys nice words to the foreign media and Diaspora Jews which are never expressed in Arabic to his constituents. There, he continues to incite hatred against us, sanctifies suicide bombers as national heroes and condemns us for defending ourselves against terrorists.
In this context it is both incomprehensible and nauseating when senior analysts and political leaders repeat the absurd mantra that the PA and Abbas are moderate peace partners.
However, should the PA formally repudiate the Oslo Accords, few of us would shed tears.
This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post