The futility of “peace talks” with Israel
Analysis by Khalid Amayreh in O. Jerusalem
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whose term in office officially expired in January but remained at the helm of the Ramallah regime in order to spite off Hamas, reportedly has phoned Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to wish him a happy holiday. The courtesy call, as described by Abbas’s office, has been interpreted by observers in occupied Palestine as a preliminary sign of flirting between the fascist-minded Netanyahu and the beleaguered PLO leader.
If true, Abbas would be embarking on yet another odyssey of self-depreciation and national betrayal, one that would further undermine the Palestinian national cause. Abbas had wasted precious years conducting failed peace talks with Israel. He was repeatedly advised and exhorted to be vigilant and cautious as to Zionist tactics, but to no avail. And, as expected, the inevitable outcome of these high-pitched encounters found expression in the continued expansion of Jewish colonies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This happened while everyone, including Abbas and the rest of the PA chorus, was babbling about the “peace process,” the greatest act of deception whose sole victim has been the Palestinian cause and sole beneficiary is Israel’s territorial aggrandizement. However, instead of drawing the right conclusion and learning the right lessons from the colossal failure of the so-called peace negotiations with Israel, the PA leadership continued to repeat the same futile rituals and the same pointless platitudes about peace. Now, it is most likely that the PA will be duped again, probably willingly, to reproduce and regurgitate the same deception, same lies, and same disaster. Indeed, PA officials, including Abbas himself, declared on many occasions that Israel was not serious about peace and that Israeli leaders, irrespective of their political and ideological orientation, were only interested in prolonging peace talks for as long as possible in order to give Israel the needed time to build still more settlements and judaize the remainder of Jerusalem. In light one might ask the PA leadership the following questions: Aren’t you supposed to have learned from the experience of the past three years? Haven’t you discovered by now that Israel is more interested in liquidating the Palestinian cause than in reaching a dignified and genuine peace settlement with the Palestinians? And how many more years would it take you to realize that it is futile to hold peace talks with Israel, a perpetually bellicose state whose very essence is incompatible with antithetical to the most elementary concept of true peace? True, we are very weak military and politically vis-à-vis Israel, a virtual superpower which also controls the American government to a very large extent. But we don’t have to be naïve and gullible and outright stupid when it comes to presenting our case before the international community. Indeed, the political behavior of the PA has so far given the impression that the Palestinians are confused, unsure of what they want, fastidious, complaining too much, etc. We just can’t exchange warm kisses with Israeli officials and leaders in the evening and then complain bitterly the next morning that Israel doesn’t want peace and is using peace talks as a cover to expand Jewish colonies on occupied territory. We simply haven’t been consistent in our public behavior vis-à-vis Israel, and that seriously undermines our public discourse and especially our credibility. In short, there must be a complete and absolute consistency between Palestinian behavior and statements, even mood on the one hand, and the level of credibility of negotiations with Israel. In fact, the moment Palestinian negotiators felt, as they did on numerous occasions, that Israel was only trying to gain time and give the false impression that progress was being made, mainly for propagandistic purposes, then the Palestinian negotiators should have left no stones unturned in order to expose Israel. Unfortunately, this is not how PA negotiators have been behaving. In fact the opposite is true, for instead of exposing Israel and instigating the international and especially Arab -Muslim world against the criminal entity, many PA officials, including (former PA) Chairman Abbas, were busy seeking “certificates of good conducts” from the Zionist entity. Abbas himself managed to introduce the Iraqi President to Ehud Barak at an international conference in Europe last year. Is this how we gain the respect of the world? How can we look ourselves in the mirror when we treat the mass killers of our children who exterminated the people of Gaza with White Phosphorus with such cordiality and friendship? It is really sad that the Palestinian people might have to suffer another depressive episode of false hopes and false promises while Israel’s sly and criminal leaders continue to utilize the scandalously stupid Palestinian leadership to deflect and evade international scrutiny. To be sure, none is asking Abbas and his men to join the ranks of the resistance. This would be an honor these people don’t deserve. However, ordinary Palestinians have every right to expect the Ramallah leadership to act and behave with dignity and not be bamboozled by the verbal juggling of pathological liars and sadistic fascists such as Netanyahu, a man in whose lexicons words such as honesty and good absolutely have no meaning. The PA has been more or less negotiating with successive Israeli governments since 1991. This long period should be more than enough to know the Israeli intentions. Well, even the imbeciles can by now understand that a state that keeps frantically building huge settlements on stolen land is not really sincere about peace. I recently asked PA Chief negotiator Sa’eb Ureikat if he thought that any Israeli government would ever agree to return to the borders of the 1967. Ureikat said he didn’t think so but added that “we have to keep the negotiation going because life itself is negotiation.” (Ureikat has actually written a book bearing the title "Life Is Negotiation"). Well, if indeed life is negotiation, then the PA, including Ureikat himself, has been doing an extremely dismal job negotiating with Israel in the last 20 years. Reality on the ground speaks for itself and doesn’t require any further elucidation. There is no doubt that the vicious trio of Netanyahu, Barak and Lieberman
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