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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Is he afraid?

Khaled Abu Toameh writes that 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen is afraid to cut a peace deal with Israel.
[US Secretary of State John] Kerry failed to acknowledge that Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas does not have a mandate from his people to negotiate, let alone sign, any agreement with Israel. Abbas is now in the tenth year of his four-year term in office.
Nor did Kerry listen to the advice of those who warned him and his aides that Abbas would not be able to implement any agreement with Israel on the ground. Abbas cannot even visit his private house in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, and he controls less than 40% of the West Bank. Where exactly did Kerry expect Abbas to implement any agreement with Israel? In the city-center of Ramallah or Nablus?
What Kerry and other Western leaders do not want to understand is that Abbas is not authorized to make any concessions for peace with Israel, and has even repeatedly promised his people that he would not make any concessions for the sake of peace with Israel.
In a speech in Ramallah on November 11, marking the tenth anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, Abbas declared: "He who surrenders one grain of the soil of Palestine and Jerusalem is not one of us."
This statement alone should be enough for Kerry and Western leaders to realize that it would be impossible to ask Abbas to make any concessions. Like Arafat, Abbas has become hostage to his own rhetoric. How can Abbas be expected to accept any deal that does not include 100% of his demands -- in this instance, all territory captured by Israel in 1967?
Abbas himself knows that if he comes back with 97% or 98% of his demands, his people will either spit in is face or kill him, after accusing him of being a "defeatist" and "relinquishing Palestinian rights."
This is precisely why Abbas chose to walk out of Kerry's nine-month "peace process." Realizing that Israel was not going to offer him 100% of his demands, Abbas preferred to abandon the peace talks last summer.
For Abbas, it is more convenient to be criticized by the U.S. and Israel than to be denounced by his own people for achieving a bad deal with Israel.
Abu Toameh seems to believe that there are circumstances under which Abu Mazen might agree to a deal with Israel if Israel were to give him 100% of what he demands. Sadly, even that is not true. And even if Israel were to agree to 100% of Abu Mazen's demands and Abu Mazen were to sign on the dotted line, there is virtually no chance that he would keep to his side of the bargain, and there is even less chance that whoever succeeds him would keep to Abu Mazen's side of the bargain (a precedent that has sadly been encouraged by the Obama administration's behavior). This is not about a return to the 1949 armistice lines. It's about Israel's continued existence as the Jewish homeland in the region.

That's the reality in the Middle East and most Israelis have come to realize that over the last 14 years. The only chance of it ever changing is if the 'Palestinians' were to some day wake up and realize that they will never have a 'state' unless they reach and keep to a deal. And that will never happen so long as the one consequence of not making a deal - losing out to on the ground reality - is consistently thwarted by the international community's obsession with Israeli 'settlement building.'

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