I urge you to read Caroline Glicks Lights, camera, peace process!
She suggests that the Israel Left is working at cross purposes with the Obama administration. Obama apparently is threatening Abbas that if he doesn’t start negotiations, Obama won’t increase pressure on Israel to continue the freeze. That’s supposed to be pressure on Abbas.
She ends with,
IT IS hard to think of anything Abbas hasn’t already done to make clear that he doesn’t want to negotiate. He has refused to negotiate. He has demanded impossible preconditions. He has asked Fatah and the Arab League to refuse to negotiate.
While Abbas rejects the legitimacy of the Jewish state, his refusal to sit down with Netanyahu is not primarily a question of ideology. It is important to remember that Abbas doesn’t actually represent anyone anymore.
Abbas has no legal authority to represent the Palestinians. His term of office ended in January 2009. The only reason he continues to be referred to as the president of the Palestinian Authority is because the US insisted that he pretend that he is still represents someone.
But Abbas’s status as a has-been is the least of his problems. Even if Abbas’s term had not ended a year and eight months ago, he still wouldn’t have the power to make a deal with Israel. Hamas, not Abbas’ Fatah holds the cards in Palestinian society. This much was made clear in the first instance when Hamas won the Palestinian elections in 2006. By most non-Abbas controlled accounts, despite the billions of dollars Fatah has received in US and EU aid since then, if elections were held today, Hamas would likely win again.
And then there are the military realities.
Today, it is not the US-trained and financed Palestinian army that keeps Abbas’ expired government in power in Judea and Samaria. It is the IDF. If the IDF were to withdraw, Hamas would take over in those areas just as it took over Gaza three years ago.
And if Abbas signed a peace accord with Israel tomorrow, he would have no capacity to implement it. He would be dead before he had a chance to declare statehood. And he knows it.
When Hamas reinstated its missile war against Israel last week, the media contended that Hamas is seeking to derail talks between Abbas and Netanyahu. Whether this is true or not, it misses the point.
The point is that Hamas can derail talks any time it wishes because Hamas is the real power in Palestinian society – not Abbas.
And because the US has coerced Netanyahu into agreeing to hold talks with a Palestinian who has no power to negotiate, and because the Palestinians with actual power are controlled by Iran and wholly committed to Israel’s destruction, it is clear that Obama’s most earnestly held goal and the Israeli Left’s greatest desire is not to engage in a peace process, but to engage in political theater with Abbas at Israel’s expense.
UNFORTUNATELY, WHILE the goal is theater, its consequences are anything but entertaining. Indeed, they are deadly.
This longstanding penchant for having Israel negotiate with the Palestinians despite the latter’s refusal to accept the legitimacy of the Jewish state has brought about a situation in which Israel faces the prospect of a two-state solution that involves the creation of two Palestinian states. The first – the Palestinian state in Gaza, has existed for five years. It is run by Hamas and is controlled by Iran and Syria.
The second – the Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria is run by Fatah. Protected by the IDF, it wages war against Hamas in the streets. And legitimized by the Israeli Left and the US, Fatah wages diplomatic war against Israel internationally. And when the blinds are pulled, Fatah forces join with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in their common goal of killing Israelis.
Because this political theater requires everyone in a position of power to ignore the fact that the Palestinians have both no interest and no ability to make peace with Israel, the Palestinians are consistently supported. And since it requires Israel to make endless concessions to the Palestinians to keep the drama going, support for Israel has consistently eroded.
Reality on the Palestinian side is not the only thing the likes of Ramon and Obama ignore in the interest of their love of theater.
They also ignore that the Israeli people have had enough of their play acting.
In a poll of Israeli Jews carried out for Channel One last week, by a margin of more than two to one, respondents said the withdrawal from Gaza was a mistake. By a margin of three to one they said they would not support similar withdrawals in the future. By a margin of nearly four to one they said their support for settlers had increased since the expulsions from Gaza. And by a margin of two to one, they said that the withdrawal harmed Israel’s deterrence.
Ramon is the architect of the unilateral withdrawal strategy. He cooked it up back in 1994 when the Palestinian introduction of the suicide bomber to the daily lives of Israelis soured the public on the peace process with the PLO. And now, with no chance that Abbas or any other Palestinian leader will sign or implement a deal with Israel, it is clear that the only way to progress in the political theater Obama and Ramon so fervently desire is for Israel to give more unreciprocated concessions to the Palestinians.
The obvious remedy for all of this is for the Israeli Left and the US to recognize what it is that they are doing. Outside the world of theater, neither the Israeli Left nor the US have an interest in building yet another terror state in Judea and Samaria in addition to the one in Gaza. Neither has an interest in weakening Israel to the point where it cannot defend itself and therefore invites aggression from its neighbors.
If the Israel Left and the Obama administration truly want peace, they would be making some demands on the Palestinians. At a minimum they would demand that the Palestinians accept the legitimacy of the Jewish state and reform their anti-Semitic institutions.
But then they wouldn’t have their political theater. And that is something that cannot live without.