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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Peace partners

Khaled Abu Toameh has got it right. Whether Abu Mazen and Saeb Erekat are 'peace partners' for Israel is irrelevant. What really matters is whether the 'Palestinian people' are 'peace partners.' The reactions to Palileaks clearly show that the answer to that question is "no."
It is no secret that most of the Arab governments do not represent their constituents, at least in regard to making peace with Israel. If Arab leaders seem to be more "moderate" in their views toward the Middle East peace process than their people, it is because these leaders have been telling Westerners what they like to hear.

Even if the Palestinian Authority may be a peace partner, what about the Palestinians?

Has anyone thought about asking Abbas and Erekat what the Palestinians living in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan think about their willingness to offer Israel major concessions?

The Al-Jazeera revelations have seriously embarrassed the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, mainly because they show that Abbas and his negotiators have been telling their people one thing and Israelis and Americans something completely different.

Abbas and his negotiators have been promising Palestinians that there would no concessions whatsoever on core issues such as Jerusalem and refugees. But, as The Palestine Papers have shown, their message to the Israelis, Americans and Europeans has been the exact opposite.

Now, in wake of the Al-Jazeera revelations, the Palestinian Authority leaders are trying to distance themselves from these statements. Now, Abbas and his negotiators have to prove to their people that they are not "traitors" who sold out to Israel.


The Palestinian Authority has understandably, and perhaps justifiably, convinced some Israelis and many of its Western supporters that it is a partner for peace. Statements attributed to Abbas, Erekat and Qurei show that they have been saying all what many in Israel and in the West like to hear.

If anything, Al-Jazeera's sensationalist revelations show that Arab regimes are still afraid of telling their people the truth.

It is nice to hear Erekat and Qurei talk to Israel about giving up most of east Jerusalem: with such positions they can be described as true peace partners. But the question that needs to be addressed is not whether Abbas and Erekat are peace partners, but whether the majority of Palestinians would be willing to accept far-reaching concessions like the ones offered by the Palestinian Authority.
Read it all.

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At 5:45 AM, Blogger Findalis said...

The Palileaks are forgeries. Does anyone believe for one minute that the PA would give up control of 90% of the Old City? Limit the Law of Return to 100,000 people? Or send the rest to Brazil?

The last one was supposed to have been proposed by George W. Bush and Condi Rice.

At 6:16 AM, Blogger NormanF said...


The fact the PA has never prepared its own people for peace with Israel and that it would have to make concessions to reach a peace agreement, shows that it is not a "peace partner."

At the end of day, a peace treaty that is dependent on the good will of the Arab regime in power is worse than no peace treaty at all.

The events in Egypt should have driven that lesson home for Israelis. What kind of peace could survive political vicissitudes? A peace between peoples, not a peace between governments.

Unfortunately, the Israeli Left and Israeli governments devotion to a top down peace arrangement has left Israel exposed to the cold force of Arab hostility if the formal peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan are ever voided by new regimes that have no real commitment to them.

And the most likely prospect Israel faces in the foreseeable future, is to find itself with no Arab peace partners, period.

What could go wrong indeed

At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still, that the PA sorta made those concessions suggests they are a better PA than a PA that would refuse to make those concessions--although those concessions have not guided their current negotiating strategy from what we see. The question would be whether the PA is doomed to be succeeded by Hamas and how Israel would overcome the challenge if it continues a policy of no direct occupation of Gaza or the West Bank.


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