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Monday, August 29, 2011

"The immaculate deception" or "they don't call him Abu Bluff for nothing"

Jonathan Tobin explains what Abu Mazen's UN game is all about.
Ever since the Palestinian Authority rejected Israel’s offer of an independent state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and part of Jerusalem back in 2008, its leader Mahmoud Abbas has been doing all he could to avoid being put in a similar situation. Because he knows no matter what concessions Israel makes on borders or settlements, he cannot survive the aftermath of signing a peace deal, Abbas must continue to dodge negotiations despite the desperate efforts of the Obama administration and the European Union to get him to come back to the table. That is the rationale for the PA’s UN adventure.

This UN gambit is doomed to failure since the General Assembly cannot create a state by itself anymore that it can transform Palestinian political life. Under the current circumstances where Gaza is ruled by the Hamas terrorist movement and the West Bank is kept under the thumb of the PA only by virtue of the protection of the Israeli army, a viable independent Palestinian state is more of a theoretical notion than anything else. And despite the predictions of a “diplomatic tsunami” that would swamp Israel, it is Abbas who has more to fear from the fallout of this confrontation since it is he, and not Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who stands to lose the most if the defeat of his measure results in more Palestinian violence.

Abbas’s notice of his willingness to be tempted to stay away from the UN is, like the entire project, merely a deception. The only purpose of the exercise is to heighten Israel’s isolation and increase pressure on Jerusalem, not to get closer to a resolution of the dispute. More talk of settlements and borders are a distraction from the core issue of whether the Palestinians can live with a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. Abbas says he wants a Jew-free Palestinian state next to an Israel where the “return” of the descendants of Arab refugees would transform a Jewish state to a bi-national or Arab one. That is a prescription for future war not peace.

So long as Abbas isn’t willing to talk about a Jewish state living in peace alongside a Palestinian state, we will know he is merely continuing his bluff and not speaking in good faith. Were he ever to do so, he would find that as they did in 2000, 2001 and 2008, the Israelis are willing to make peace on terms that would give him his state. There is no reason for Israel to give in on borders, territory, Jerusalem or anything else until Abbas or his successors change their tunes.
Well, yeah. But the real question remains whether Israel's government with withstand the pressure from the Obama administration to give Abu Mazen something for dropping the bid anyway.

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At 6:56 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

It assumes Abu Bluff is merely stalling to get better terms. The truth is the maximum Israel could offer would be less than the minimum a Palestinian leader would need to remain in office.

Unless Palestinian society was reconfigured to accept a genuine compromise peace with Israel, the truth is there will be no peace in our lifetime.

At 6:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Catholic who has enjoyed reading your posts until today. I am horrified of your mockery of the Immaculate Conception and my faith by utilizing the term "immaculate deception" and request that you apologize and retract this immediately


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