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Friday, May 08, 2009

A 'phony fight'

In his Friday column in the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer dissects the New York Times interview with Khaled Meshaal from earlier this week. Krauthammer concludes that Meshaal learned his lessons well from Yasser Arafat.
Westerners may be stupid, but Hamas is not. It sees the new American administration making overtures to Iran and Syria. It sees Europe, led by Britain, beginning to accept Hezbollah. It sees itself as next in line. And it knows what to do. Yasser Arafat wrote the playbook.

With the 1993 Oslo accords, he showed what can be achieved with a fake peace treaty with Israel -- universal diplomatic recognition, billions of dollars of aid, and control of Gaza and the West Bank, which Arafat turned into an armed camp. In return for a signature, he created in the Palestinian territories the capacity to carry on the war against Israel that the Arab states had begun in 1948 but had given up after the bloody hell of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Meshaal has one small innovation to Arafat's method of operation:
Arafat waited seven years to tear up his phony peace. Meshal's innovation? Ten -- then blood.
Krauthammer assumes that Hamas would wait ten years to attack Israel. That is probably a big assumption. And Meshaal disavowed the one small 'concession' he had made even more quickly than Arafat ever did.

But the key point Krauthammer made is not about Meshaal. It's about American President Barack Hussein Obama and his standing on the 'two-state solution.'
Of all the phony fights to pick with Israel. No Israeli government would turn down a two-state solution in which the Palestinians accepted territorial compromise and genuine peace with a Jewish state. (And any government that did would be voted out in a day.) Netanyahu's own defense minister, Ehud Barak, offered precisely such a deal in 2000. He even offered to divide Jerusalem and expel every Jew from every settlement remaining in the new Palestine.

The Palestinian response (for those who have forgotten) was: No. And no counteroffer. Instead, nine weeks later, Arafat unleashed a savage terror war that killed 1,000 Israelis.
Krauthammer is right. It's a phony fight. It's such a phony fight that many analysts here are having a hard time believing that it's a fight that Obama really wants to pick. But as I hope to show later, Obama has apparently decided that is a fight he is going to pick. It may be phony, but he's trying to use it as a club against Israel anyway.

Read the whole thing.


At 4:35 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The irony is no one really wants to change the status quo. If the Americans would only accept it, a lot of progress could be made. By insisting on changing it, they will see very little of it being made.

A phony fight, indeed.


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