NOT TAKING YES FOR AN ANSWER
By Dr. Efraim Karsh
But the story doesn't end here. While the English-language announcement of the PLO's decision sets "the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel" as the outcome of the negotiations, the Arabic-language version makes no mention of the two-state solution. Instead it notes the Palestinian readiness to resume the final-status talks, adding a few new preconditions, notably the rejection of Israel's annexation of east Jerusalem.
And just there, no doubt, lies the heart of the problem.
For, while the PLO leadership, since the launch of the Oslo "peace" process in 1993, has been singing the praises of the two-state solution whenever addressing Israeli or Western audiences, it has consistently denigrated the idea to its own constituents, depicting the process as a transient arrangement required by the needs of the moment that would inexorably lead to the long-cherished goal of Israel's demise.
In this respect, there has been no fundamental distinction between Yasser Arafat and Abbas (and, for that matter, between Hamas and the PLO). For all their admittedly sharp differences in personality and political style, the two are warp and woof of the same dogmatic PLO fabric: Neither of them accepts Israel's right to exist; both are committed to its eventual destruction.
IN ONE way, indeed, Abbas is more extreme than many of his peers. While they revert to standard talk of Israel's illegitimacy, he devoted years of his life to giving ideological firepower to the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish indictment. In a doctoral dissertation written at a Soviet university, an expanded version of which was subsequently published in book form, Abbas endeavored to prove the existence of a close ideological and political association between Zionism and Nazism. Among other things, he argued that fewer than a million Jews had been killed in the Holocaust, and that the Zionist movement was a partner to their slaughter.
In the wake of the failed Camp David summit of July, 2000, and the launch of Arafat's war of terror two months later, Abbas went to great lengths to explain why the "right of return" – the standard Arab euphemism for Israel's destruction through demographic subversion – was a nonnegotiable prerequisite for any settlement. Two years later, he described the Oslo process as "the biggest mistake Israel has ever made," enabling the PLO to get worldwide acceptance and respectability while clinging to its own aims.
Shortly after Arafat's death in November, 2004, Abbas publicly swore to "follow in the path of the late leader Yasser Arafat and... work toward fulfilling his dream... We promise you that our hearts will not rest until the right of return for our people is achieved and the tragedy of the refugees is ended."
Abbas made good his pledge. In a televised speech on May 15, 2005, he described the establishment of Israel as an unprecedented historic injustice and vowed never to accept it.
Two-and-a-half years later, at a U.S.A.-sponsored peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland, he rejected Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's proposal of a Palestinian state in 97 percent of the West Bank and the entire Gaza Strip, and categorically dismissed the request to recognize Israel as a Jewish state alongside the would-be Palestinian state, insisting, instead, on full implementation of the "right of return."
He was equally recalcitrant when the demand was raised (in April, 2009) by newly-elected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. "A Jewish state, what is that supposed to mean?" Abbas asked in a speech in Ramallah. "You can call yourselves as you like, but I don't accept it and I say so publicly."
When, in June, 2009, Netanyahu broke with longstanding Likud precept by publicly accepting a two-state solution and agreeing to the establishment of a Palestinian state, provided the PA leadership responded in kind and recognized Israel's Jewish nature, Saeb Erekat, Chief of the PLO Steering and Monitoring Committee, warned that the Israeli Prime Minister "will have to wait 1,000 years before he finds one Palestinian who will go along with him."
Fatah, the PLO's largest constituent organization and Abbas's alma mater, went a step further. At its Sixth General Congress, convened in Bethlehem August, 2009, the delegates reaffirmed their long-standing commitment to "armed struggle" as "a strategy, not a tactic.... This struggle will not stop until the Zionist entity is eliminated and Palestine is liberated."
And so it goes. Precisely 10 years after Arafat was dragged kicking and screaming to the American-convened peace summit in Camp David, only to reject Ehud Barak's virtual cession of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the nascent Palestinian state and to launch an unprecedented war of terror, his erstwhile successor is being dragged to the negotiating table, which he would rather continue to shun after a year-and-a-half absence.
Not because of the unconstitutionality of any agreement he might sign (owing to the expiry of his Presidency in January, 2009), or his inability to deliver anything that is not to Hamas's liking, but because, like Arafat and the rest of the PLO leadership, as far as Israel's existence is concerned, Abbas would not take a yes for an answer.
Middle East -- Arabs, Arab States,
& Their Middle Eastern Neighbors
American Foreign Policy -- The Middle East
Islamism & Jihadism -- Radical Islam & Islamic Terrorism
Page Three Page Two Page One
International Politics & World Disorder:
War, Peace, & Geopolitics in the Real World:
Foreign Affairs & U.S. National Security
Page Two Page One
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
U.S. National Security Strategy
Dr. Efraim Karsh, Editor of the Middle East Quarterly and author most recently of the book, Palestine Betrayed (Yale University Press, 2000), is Professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King's College, University of London, U.K. A graduate in Arabic and Modern Middle East History from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and holding the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in International Relations from Tel Aviv University, Dr. Karsh has held academic posts at Harvard University, Columbia University, the Sorbonne, the London School of Economics, Helsinki University, the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in Washington, D.C., and the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University.
Founder and Editor of the scholarly journal Israel Affairs, Dr. Karsh has written extensively on Middle East politics, Soviet foreign policy, and European affairs. A regular media commentator, he has appeared on U.K. and U.S. television and radio and contributed articles to leading newspapers in Britain and the U.S.A., among them the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Daily Telegraph, and The Times (of London).
The foregoing article by Dr. Efraim Karsh was originally published in the Jerusalem Post, August 24, 2010, and can be found on the Internet website maintained by the Middle East Forum, a foreign policy think tank which seeks to define and promote American interests in the Middle East, defining U.S. interests to include fighting radical Islam, working for Palestinian Arab acceptance of the State of Israel, improving the management of U.S. efforts to promote constitutional democracy in the Middle East, reducing America's energy dependence on the Middle East, more robustly asserting U.S. interests vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia, and countering the Iranian threat. (URL: http://www.meforum.org/2727/not-taking-yes-for-an-answer)
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
LINKS TO PARTICULAR ISSUES & SUBJECT MATTER CATEGORIES
TREATED IN THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, U.S.A.:
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
American Government 5 * American Politics * Anglosphere * Arabs
Arms Control & WMD * Aztlan Separatists * Big Government
Black Africa * Bureaucracy * Canada * China * Civil Liberties * Communism
Congress, U.S. * Conservative Groups * Conservative vs. Liberal
Constitutional Law * Counterterrorism * Criminal Justice * Disloyalty * Economy
Education * Elections, U.S. * Eminent Domain * Energy & Environment
English-Speaking World * Ethnicity & Race * Europe * Europe: Jews
Family Values * Far East * Fiscal Policy, U.S. * Foreign Aid, U.S. * Foreign Policy, U.S.
France * Hispanic Separatism * Hispanic Treason * Human Health * Immigration
Infrastructure, U.S. * Intelligence, U.S. * Iran * Iraq * Islamic North Africa
Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
Jihad & Jihadism * Jihad Manifesto I * Jihad Manifesto II * Judges, U.S. Federal
Judicial Appointments * Judiciary, American * Latin America * Latino Separatism
Latino Treason * Lebanon * Leftists/Liberals * Legal Issues
Local Government, U.S. * Marriage & Family * Media Political Bias
Middle East: Arabs * Middle East: Iran * Middle East: Iraq * Middle East: Israel
Middle East: Lebanon * Middle East: Syria * Middle East: Tunisia
Middle East: Turkey * Militant Islam * Military Defense * Military Justice
Military Weaponry * Modern Welfare State * Morality & Decency
National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
North Africa * Patriot Act, USA * Patriotism * Political Culture * Political Ideologies
Political Parties * Political Philosophy * Politics, American * Presidency, U.S.
Private Property * Property Rights * Public Assistance * Radical Islam
Religion & America * Rogue States & WMD * Russia * Science & Ethics
Sedition & Treason * Senate, U.S. * Social Welfare Policy * South Africa
State Government, U.S. * Subsaharan Africa * Subversion * Syria * Terrorism 1
Terrorism 2 * Treason & Sedition * Tunisia * Turkey * Ukraine
UnAmerican Activity * UN & Its Agencies * USA Patriot Act * U.S. Foreign Aid
U.S. Infrastructure * U.S. Intelligence * U.S. Senate * War & Peace
Welfare Policy * WMD & Arms Control
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
POLITICAL EDUCATION, CONSERVATIVE ANALYSIS
POLITICS, SOCIETY, & THE SOVEREIGN STATE
Website of Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor