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Sunday, August 09, 2009

The 'Palestinian' condition improves

Thomas Friedman is surprised to find the 'Palestinian' economy improving.
For Palestinians, long trapped between burgeoning Israeli settlements and an Israeli occupation army, subject to lawlessness in their own cities and the fecklessness of their own political leadership, life has clearly started to improve a bit, thanks to a new virtuous cycle: improved Palestinian policing that has led to more Palestinian investment and trade that has led to the Israeli Army dismantling more checkpoints in the West Bank that has led to more Palestinian travel and commerce.
Could it be that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's plan to build a 'Palestinian' entity from the ground up is working? If it is, Friedman is not going to be the one to tell you that:
The key to this rebirth was the recruitment, training and deployment of four battalions of new Palestinian National Security Forces — a move spearheaded by President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad of the Palestinian Authority. Trained in Jordan in a program paid for by the U.S., three of these battalions have fanned out since May 2008 and brought order to the major Palestinian towns: Nablus, Jericho, Hebron, Ramallah, Jenin and Bethlehem.

These N.S.F. troops, who replaced either Israeli soldiers or Palestinian gangs, have been warmly received by the locals. Recently, N.S.F. forces wiped out a Hamas cell in Qalqilya, and took losses themselves. The death of the Hamas fighters drew nary a peep, but a memorial service for the N.S.F. soldiers killed drew thousands of people. For the first time, I’ve heard top Israeli military officers say these new Palestinian troops are professional and for real.
Not quite. The Israeli troops sit right outside of town. If they did not, the 'Dayton forces,' as they are known, would already have been routed by Hamas. For instance, what Friedman doesn't tell you when he mentions that "N.S.F. forces wiped out a Hamas cell in Qalqilya, and took losses themselves" is that some 3,000(!) Fatah troops endured a ten-hour standoff against the hamas terrorists, after which other troops - apparently Americans - went in and finished the job. That doesn't exactly inspire confidence!

And Friedman also concludes - based on nothing obvious - that what the 'Palestinians' really want is a state and that living a normal life means nothing to them otherwise.
Make no mistake: Palestinians still want the Israeli occupation to end, and their own state to emerge, tomorrow. That is not going to happen. But for the first time since Oslo, there is an economic-security dynamic emerging on the ground in the West Bank that has the potential — the potential — to give the post-Yasir Arafat Palestinians another chance to build the sort of self-governing authority, army and economy that are prerequisites for securing their own independent state. A Palestinian peace partner for Israel may be taking shape again.


“Our people need to see we are governing ourselves and are not simply subcontractors for Israeli security,” Prime Minister Fayyad told me. Khalil Shikaki, a leading Palestinian pollster, added that Abbas and Fayyad want “to be seen as building a Palestinian state — not security without a state.” That is why “there has to be political progress alongside the security progress. Without it, it hurts them very much.”
My guess is that if you asked those 'Palestinians' who are able to live a normal life and make a decent living, they would tell you that those things are far more important to them than a 'state.'

I will give Friedman the benefit of the doubt and assume that his column was written before the virulently anti-Israel resolutions that were adopted by the Fatah Congress this past week. Those resolutions make it appear that - as in 2000 - the 'Palestinians' are about to take the opportunity to miss an opportunity. The 'Palestinian' leadership has no interest in their 'people' enjoying a normal life and earning a normal living. They are only interested in destroying Israel. And nothing will change that.


At 12:04 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Exactly. The Palestinian goal is the demise of Israel. No Israeli government is going to take their demand for all of Jerusalem seriously. Setting out such a precondition is tantamount to ensuring talks will never happen. A true partner wants a settlement based on justice, maintainance of one's interests and acceptance of the other side as an equal who deserves the same treatment. The Palestinians may be enjoying a better life but it hasn't changed their views about Israel.

What could wrong indeed


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