Palestinian reality check

By Stephen Pollard
February 8, 2010

There's a superb column by Barry Rubin in today's Jerusalem Post, which introduces a reality check into some of the praise heaped on Salam Fayyad after his speech at the Herzliya conference (which I was at). Do read the whole thing, but his key point is that whilst the fact of his presence, and his tone, might have been conciliatory, the content was anything but. 

Fayyad demanded that Israel must unilaterally pull out of the rest of the West Bank, getting nothing in return; it must immediately stop all construction on settlements; the IDF should never enter PA-ruled areas, even if the PA doesn’t arrest terrorists who have murdered Israelis or are planning attacks;
Israel should end its blockade of the Gaza Strip, even though the Hamas
rulers there refuse to make a deal with the PA, openly announce their
goal of destroying Israel and smuggle in as many weapons as possible.

As Rubin puts it:

is the most moderate guy in the PA leadership. He was doing about the
best he could. But that’s the point. He has no base of support, isn’t a
Fatah member, and doesn’t really represent Palestinian thinking. He is
in office only to keep Western donors happy. Thus, Fayyad couldn’t go
any further because he knows his Fatah bosses, Palestinian constituents
and Hamas enemies would throw him out if he offered the slightest
concession and demanded any less than everything they want.

...Since 1993 not a single
Palestinian leader has ever made a speech to his own people like
Barak’s, never said that they should have to give up something to get a
state other than their claim to all of Israel (which they don’t quite
seem to give up), never urged the media and public debate to become
more moderate.

Here's my explanation: they don't actually want talks.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Mon, 02/08/2010 - 14:22

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And you think that Israel does want a conclusion to talks? If that were the case, do you think Bibi and his predecessors would continue with the colonisation of the West Bank (since the start of Oslo in 1992, the number of Israelis on the WB has grown from 75,000 to 350,000)? Do you think that they would continue to make unilateral steps and statements regarding East Jerusalem? Or continue appropriating resources (land and water, for instance) exclusively for colonists' use? Or crackdown on NGOs? Or evict East Jerusalem families from their homes?
No Israeli government, not even that of the late Yitzhak Rabin which was made up of 42 Labour and 12 Meretz MKs, has had the political will or the courage to bring the conflict to an end. All they have ever offered is a promise of a non-contiguous, non-viable Palestinian state (said through gritted teeth, if at all) dotted with and cut into by Israeli colonies, criss-crossed by settler-only roads, blocked to the East by an Israeli security zone and no control over foreign policy, borders or air space. Is it any wonder that the Palestinians have said "thanks, but no thanks"?


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