Does the PA have a strategy?‎

Does the PA have a strategy?‎ Israel Hayom, Richard Baehr, October 11, 2015

Abbas may sense that a reconciliation between Israel and the ‎Obama administration is not at hand this time around. The obvious and petty ‎boycott of Netanyahu’s speech at the U.N. certainly supports that thesis. This president ‎carries grudges. In Israel’s case, he seems to have come into office carrying one. ‎With the president in full-time legacy-building mode in his last 16 months in office ‎‎(the climate treaty and executive action on gun control are next up), it is hard to ‎believe that he will simply accept defeat and an inability to influence the Israeli-‎Palestinian conflict in the time he has left. ‎

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A third intifada has not yet been officially designated by Haaretz or The New York ‎Times or National Public Radio, though it may feel as if one is underway, when ‎over 60% of Israelis in the latest public opinion survey say they now fear for their ‎personal safety. So too, there is no evidence yet that the wave of Palestinian ‎attacks or — new to this current campaign — the attempted mass crossings from Gaza, ‎have peaked. ‎

Certainly, the reporting on the current events in Israel reflects old habits about ‎how most journalists cover stories of Palestinian violence and Israeli responses. ‎Two standbys always work. One if that there is “a cycle of violence” ( a pox on both ‎your houses), always leaving unclear who the original perpetrators were in an ‎individual attack or group of attacks. A second is to keep a daily scorecard of the ‎comparative body counts, especially when there are more Palestinian casualties ‎and fatalities than Israeli, courtesy of Israeli police or soldiers responding to ‎stabbing attacks, not all of which prove lethal before the attacker is neutralized. ‎This narrative leads to the inevitable charge of disproportionality, one that has ‎become the principal media assault on Israeli responses to terror emanating from ‎Gaza in recent years. As in every other instance in recent years, Haaretz is playing ‎its appointed role of feeding the many international journalists in the country with ‎the “truth in English” as it sees it, and as the international media want to receive ‎and see it, confirming all their established biases about Israel behavior.

For Israeli ‎responses to the current violence to be “fair” and proportional, the comparative ‎Jewish and Arab body counts would need to be more in balance than in prior ‎years. When the current campaign of attacks on Israelis began, The New York Times ‎relegated the story to it its interior pages. Once a few Palestinians were killed by ‎Israeli police, the story became front page news.‎

Any attack on Arabs by an Israeli is always highlighted since it removes any ‎attempt by Israel to argue it is the victim of attacks. It also buttresses the PA’s ‎charges that Israelis, whether in security roles or settlers, are willing executioners, ‎committing crimes against Palestinians. Regardless of how infrequent these individual attacks by Israelis ‎are, they serve to solidify the cycle of violence theme. The Israeli government can ‎condemn these attacks and capture the perpetrators, but it makes no difference. ‎The PA, meanwhile, will applaud the heroism of their new martyrs protecting the ‎holy places on the Temple Mount from an invasion of stinking Jewish filth.‎

The current wave of Arab attacks followed a Palestinian Authority incitement ‎campaign with language such as that above, in which President Mahmoud Abbas, ‎seemingly the president for life, though only elected to a four year term, ‎condemned Israel’s campaign to change the status of the Temple Mount, for which ‎there is no evidence whatsoever. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, probably in ‎seclusion and being treated with antidepressants since being denied the Nobel ‎Peace Prize for his abject surrender to the Iranians in Geneva, has acknowledged ‎to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the Americans understand there is no ‎Israeli effort underway to reshape any policy regarding behavior on the Temple ‎Mount. Kerry can probably blame Yasser Arafat’s Nobel Peace Prize for the peace ‎prize medal he did not receive (and likely would not have tossed away). The ‎selection committee was probably not anxious to have the Iranians make them look ‎like fools in years to come once they violated the nuclear deal as Arafat tossed Oslo ‎aside when it was inconvenient. ‎

The naked demagoguery of Abbas’ continually repeated lies about Israeli plans for ‎the Temple Mount will always have the desired affect on the many young men on ‎whom the PA can depend to take to the streets and do their part to protect the ‎‎”holy places” for a fee. While there is no consensus on the degree of PA control ‎over the attacks, the Palestinians certainly know where their rhetoric leads.‎

The question, though, is why the Palestinians have chosen this point in time to ‎overheat the situation, resulting in the loss of both Israeli and Palestinian lives.‎

The answer offered by most analysts so far is that the PA wanted to draw ‎international attention back to its grievances with Israel, which most basically ‎begins with the continued existence of the State of Israel. For many months, ‎relations between Israel and the United States, never very good at any time during ‎the Obama years, have become much more fractious as a result of the ‎disagreement between the two countries over the wisdom of America’s ‎spearheading the effort to make all the concessions required as achieve the ‎nuclear deal with Iran by the ‎P5+1 group of nations. ‎

In prior administrations, when relations between the two countries hit a rough ‎patch over some policy disagreement, typically there was an effort made by both ‎parties to try to restore the historic relationship. In the Obama years, the White ‎House has had problems with Israel on pretty much everything — whether to ‎impose new sanctions on Iran, inhibiting Israeli steps targeting Iran’s nuclear ‎program, the nuclear deal itself, and of course the peace process with the ‎Palestinians, the breakdown of which was blamed on Israel by the administration. ‎In no prior administration has the public rhetoric and off-the-record commentary ‎about Israel and its elected leader been so consistently hostile. A boycott of Netanyahu’s speech to a joint meeting of Congress was supported by the ‎administration, which pulled Vice President Joe Biden from attendance. Near a quarter ‎of all Democrats in Congress chose to observe the boycott. The administration ‎doubled down on its boycott campaign when Kerry and ‎Ambassador Samantha Power were instructed not to attend ‎Netanyahu’s recent speech to the U.N. General Assembly. It makes sense that the president has never condemned the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns targeting Israel on American ‎college campuses. He would probably be leading them if he were now a student. ‎

In any case, Abbas may sense that a reconciliation between Israel and the ‎Obama administration is not at hand this time around. The obvious and petty ‎boycott of Netanyahu’s speech at the U.N. certainly supports that thesis. This president ‎carries grudges. In Israel’s case, he seems to have come into office carrying one. ‎With the president in full-time legacy-building mode in his last 16 months in office ‎‎(the climate treaty and executive action on gun control are next up), it is hard to ‎believe that he will simply accept defeat and an inability to influence the Israeli-‎Palestinian conflict in the time he has left. ‎

Abbas has resorted to the strategy that always works to get his cause back in the ‎news — get some of his people killed by Israel, and blame it on Israeli over-reaction ‎and trigger-happy behavior. Maybe Obama will then show his disgust with Israel ‎and commit to not vetoing new measures targeting Israel at the U.N. Security ‎Council, including establishing a plan for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank ‎and Jerusalem. ‎

It is also possible that Obama planned to lower the temperature of the American-‎Israeli relationship now that the Iran deal had not been blocked by Congress. The prime minister had been invited to the White House next month, and reportedly ‎the president planned to show up. If Abbas thought this was the new glide path, ‎then throwing a monkey wrench into the mix with new violence would certainly ‎complicate things. Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest, gave a particularly awful ‎response when questioned about the new wave of Palestinian violence this week, ‎suggesting he had not been advised to turn any page:‎

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms ‎violence against Israeli and Palestinian civilians. We call upon ‎all parties to take affirmative steps to restore calm and refrain ‎from actions and rhetoric that would further enflame tensions ‎in that region of the world. We continue to urge all sides to find ‎a way back to the full restoration of the status quo at the ‎Temple Mount in Haram al-Sharif, the location that has ‎precipitated so much of the violence that we’ve seen there.”

In other words, both sides are guilty for attacking the other’s ‎civilians, and somehow a change in the status of the Temple ‎Mount (Israel’s doing) was the root cause of the new problems. ‎

When the administration’s top spokesperson makes this kind ‎of comment, do you think Abbas will decide to ease ‎up on the violence accelerator?

Explore posts in the same categories: Appeasement, Death to Israel, Defense of Israel, Diplomacy, Dishonor, Filthy Jews, Foreign policy, Hamas, Islamic culture, Islamic supremacy, Islamism, Israel, Israeli media, Kerry, Netanyahu, Obama - Middle East, Obama - rogue president, Obama and Israel, Obama's America, Obama's anti-semitism, Obama's foreign failures, Obama's legacy, Obama's weakness, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian heroes, Palestinians, Settlements, Two state solution, Western media

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