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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

'Palestinian' moderation is a myth

On Tuesday night, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice told the American Jewish Committee that 'Palestinians' are losing hope in the 'two-state solution' and called on Israel to make 'difficult decisions.'
"Increasingly, the Palestinians who talk about a two-state solution are my age," Rice, 53, said in a somber speech to The American Jewish Committee at its 102nd annual meeting.

Insisting that the Bush administration will never yield to dealing with Hamas militants, Rice said, "What you don't want is that the hopelessness and the vision of the extremists have no counter."

Set to leave early Thursday for more meetings with various Arab and Israeli leaders, after talks in London designed to raise more economic support for the Palestinians, Rice called on Israel to make "difficult decisions" to provide the Palestinians with the dignity of statehood.

In fact, she said, "we have a chance to reach the basic contours of a settlement by the end of the year" - a scaling back of President George W. Bush's initial hope for a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians before he leaves office.
But in this morning's JPost, Michael Freund is singing a much different and more realistic tune: There are no 'Palestinian moderates' with whom to negotiate. In fact, I would argue that the term 'Palestinian moderate' is an oxymoron. Here's Freund:
Even for a president prone to misusing the English language, George W. Bush outdid himself last week.

Sitting next to Mahmoud Abbas at the White House, Bush gushed and swooned over the visiting Palestinian leader, describing him in terms usually reserved for heroes and saints.

"The president is a man of peace," Bush assured the gaggle of reporters who were present. "He's a man of vision. He rejects the idea of using violence to achieve objectives, which distinguishes him from other people in the region." [Video here. CiJ].

While Bush's grammar may have been uncommonly accurate that day, his description of Abbas was anything but. For even a cursory glance at some of the Palestinian president's outbursts in recent months reveal a man wholly undeserving of such praise.

On March 1, [the Holocaust denying. CiJ] Abbas had the gall to insult the memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis when he declared that Israel's counter-terror operations in Gaza were "worse than the Holocaust" (Jerusalem Post, March 2).

And in an interview with the Jordanian newspaper Al-Dustur on February 28, Abbas boasted that he had been the first Palestinian to fire a bullet at Israel after the birth of the PLO in 1965.

This ostensible "man of peace" then took pride in the fact that his Fatah movement had trained Hizbullah terrorists, and he did not rule out a return to the "armed struggle" against Israel in the future. And just two weeks ago, Abbas was planning to confer the Al-Quds Mark of Honor, the PLO's highest award, to two female Palestinian terrorists who took part in the killing of Israelis (Israel Radio, April 16). The event was cancelled only after it was publicized widely in the media. Need we also mention the Palestinian president's refusal late last year to recognize Israel as a "Jewish state"?

THIS OF course puts the lie to Bush's stubborn embrace of Abbas as a reasonable and judicious leader that can be counted on to forge a peace deal. If anything, the Palestinian president has repeatedly shown himself to be an intemperate hot-head. Nonetheless, that doesn't seem to stop Washington and much of the media from bestowing upon him the coveted title of a "moderate" leader that Israel can do business with.


All of this shameful fawning on the Palestinian thug-in-chief raises a simple, yet rarely-asked, question: why is there such a widespread insistence on deluding the public into thinking that Abbas is a "moderate" leader who epitomizes the majority of Palestinians?

The issue is more than academic. In fact, it goes directly to the core of current US and Israeli government policy.

After all, the entire intellectual basis for the notion of granting the Palestinians a state rests on the dubious assumption that a majority of them are actually reasonable, peace-loving people. Too bad that all the available evidence appears to indicate otherwise.
Read the whole thing.

Who will tell the truth to President Bush and Condi? Certainly no one in the current Israeli government.

A few days before Passover, I attended the haramat kosit (toast) of the Jerusalem branch of the Likud. One of the speakers that night was a young MK named Gilad Erdan. Erdan said something that I have not heard from anyone in power in the Likud, including leader Binyamin Netanyahu. Erdan said that it's time to tell the people of Israel the truth, because Israelis are ready to hear the truth: There is no one on the 'Palestinian' side with whom we can negotiate. Hopefully, Freund's column will be the first step at getting that message across in the mainstream media, to Israelis and to diaspora Jews.


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