Archive for the ‘Israeli concessions to Palestinians’ category

Fatah Official: Jared Kushner’s Mideast Peace Mission Is a ‘Delusion’

August 27, 2017

Fatah Official: Jared Kushner’s Mideast Peace Mission Is a ‘Delusion’, BreitbartAli Waked, August 27, 2017

AP/Alex Brandon

The Fatah official warned that if political stagnation continues, “The issue of a popular uprising is on the table. It is a legitimate right and we may make a decision on this issue soon.”

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TEL AVIV — Talk of any U.S.-led initiative to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is a “delusion,” charged Palestinian official Mahmoud Aloul, a Fatah deputy to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Aloul, considered one of the candidates to succeed Abbas as the head of Fatah, said in an interview with Saudi news site Elaph regarding the visit of an American delegation last week in Israel that, “These visits haven’t led to any results. We aren’t deluding ourselves; there can be no advancement in the peace process with the right-wing Israeli government under the leadership of Netanyahu.”

President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner led last week’s mission, with the delegation also including Jason Greenblatt, envoy for international negotiations, and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell.

Aloul criticized Kushner’s delegation, stating, “Judging from the latest meetings, the delegates didn’t bring anything new with them and didn’t present any initiative. The American delegates come to hear the Israeli side. They hear the lies and the claims of Israel and then they come to us to discuss these claims. This is a big problem in mindset and we won’t agree to continue down this path.”

Asked if the U.S. delegation demanded an end to the payments of the families of Palestinian terrorists and their families, Aloul answered, “Not only this, President Trump has interfered in much smaller issues like what’s published on certain sites. They talked to us about incitement. We told them, let’s make peace so there won’t be any more martyrs or any more prisoners and then we won’t need to pay them a salary.”

Aloul said that the Palestinian Authority didn’t agree to the demand to end the pay-for-slay stipends to terrorists, referring to them as payments to prisoners. “We didn’t agree to this at all,” said Aloul. “This is a humanitarian issue connected to children and women and Palestinian society and we can’t end the payments.”

Aloul claimed that the Trump administration isn’t seriously discussing the creation of a Palestinian state. “They don’t talk about the principle of two countries, they come after having adopted the claims of the Israelis,” said Aloul. “They don’t talk about stopping the settlements. In reality, nothing is happening.”

When asked if the Palestinians still place hope on the efforts of the administration and the delegates’ visits to the region, Abbas’ deputy answered, “You could say that we don’t have any more delusions regarding the fact that their (the Americans’) policies will lead to some sort of result.”

The Fatah official warned that if political stagnation continues, “The issue of a popular uprising is on the table. It is a legitimate right and we may make a decision on this issue soon.”

Aloul left out that the Palestinians have refused successive offers of a state made by Israel on numerous occasions.

Countering contemptuous Palestinians

July 28, 2017

Countering contemptuous Palestinians, Israel Hayom, David M. Weinberg, July 28, 2017

(In the present environment, “two state solution” would a precursor to the death of Israel. — DM)

Israel should unsheathe its sovereign power and put the extremists down; decisive action that one day might allow for Palestinian moderates to emerge.

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The Palestinian Authority and its fiendish intra-Palestinian Islamic rivals seem hellbent on brinkmanship; on being belligerent adversaries with escalating, maximalist demands of Israel.

They really think they can roll Israel back by recourse to street brawls and international courts; by browbeating Israel through aggression, isolation and criminalization; by demonizing Israel with outrageous lies like “Al-Aqsa is in danger.” They think they can conduct guerilla and diplomatic warfare against Israel with impunity.

It’s time to disabuse Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and these gangs of such delusion, through resolute Israeli action.

The holy war over the Temple Mount that Abbas is promoting tells Israelis that Palestinian society has gone crazy-radical-rogue Islamic — just like much of the Arab Middle East. This spells the end of the two-state solution as Israelis (and most Western policymakers) understood it. Because the one thing that Israel absolutely cannot countenance is the emergence of a madcap Islamic caliphate in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.

Sinai-stan, Hamas-stan, Hezbollah-stan, and Syria-stan already have emerged on Israel’s southern and northern borders. This is more than enough for Israel to handle. A Pales-stan on Israel’s eastern border would be unbearable. Israel can’t and won’t let it rise.

The only Palestinian state in the West Bank that Israelis ever contemplated was a mature entity willing to reconcile ideologically with Israel, leading to the reasonable sharing of land, airspace, natural resources, and historical and religious sites.

The sharing includes the Temple Mount. Indeed, for there to be peace, Jewish prayer would have to be facilitated on the Temple Mount, alongside the prayers of other faith-traditions.

Alas, Abbas has made it clear that the Palestinian national movement is far from understanding this.

The only Palestinian state that Israelis ever envisioned would not threaten Israel’s security, obviously. This means that it would be truly demilitarized with Israeli supervision on all borders and at all holy places. It would not form hostile foreign alliances or allow radical Islamic groups to dictate the internal agenda. It would not rev up violent insurrection when it has a difference of opinion about management of a city or holy site.

Alas, Abbas has made it clear that the Palestinian national movement is far from accepting this.

The only Palestinian state that Israelis ever thought of tolerating in Judea, Samaria and Gaza would declare a permanent end to the conflict and all claims against Israel. This means recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people and recognizing ancient Jerusalem as its capital. It means renouncing the so-called right of refugee return, and inculcating respect, not anti-Semitism, on Palestinians airwaves and in Palestinian schools.

Alas, Abbas has made it clear that the Palestinian national movement is far from internalizing this.

On the contrary, Abbas has made it clear that the Palestinian liberation movement will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state nor forgo refugee return. In other words, he wants his state, but without an end to the conflict. He seems to want a Palestinian state to continue the conflict.

Professor Ahmad Khalidi, a Palestinian ideologue close to Abbas, scorns the two-state solution as a “sovereign cage.” “The concept of Palestinian statehood is nothing but a punitive construct devised by our worst enemies — the United States and Israel — to constrain Palestinian aspirations and territorial ambitions,” he has written.

Until now, Israeli governments have sought to co-opt Palestinian leaders into peace and to mollify Palestinian masses through compromise and concession, including the provision of Israeli money, guns, water, electricity and many aspects of national sovereignty.

This could have been a path to enhanced Palestinian national power in cooperation with Israel. But the kleptocratic Palestinian Authority has pocketed these goodies without showing any true willingness to meet Israeli needs and expectations.

As a result, tactical Israeli restraint, like the decision to retreat from justified security measures at the Temple Mount, comes off as capitulation to Palestinian terrorism. It reinforces the rejectionist and triumphalist Palestinian narrative. It looks and smells like appeasement.

Winston Churchill warned that “an appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” So it’s time for a different strategy. Palestinian overreach and superciliousness should be countered by strong Israeli and international countermeasures.

Palestinian leadership must be disabused of the notion that it can drive Israel off the Temple Mount and out of east Jerusalem by violence, or coerce Israel into withdrawals by appealing to international tribunals.

This will require perseverance and the flexing of muscle.

To begin with, Israel can stop doing favors for the Palestinian Authority like absorbing its mushrooming debt for electricity and fuel, or selling it water at discount prices. Then Israel should stop facilitating the business interests of Abbas’ cronies, whose cartels control the Palestinian economy. The international donor community, too, might usefully rethink the huge sums of cash it pours into Abbas’ coffers every year.

Then Israel can and should revoke the VIP permits that allow Abbas and his ministers to fly in and out of Ben-Gurion International Airport on their luxury private jets. Let them beg King Abdullah in Amman for travel privileges.

Simultaneously, Israel should arrest the activities in east Jerusalem of rabble rousers like Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, the former the grand mufti of Jerusalem and the lead agent in the city for Erdogan’s Turkey and the Moslem Brotherhood; Sheikh Issam Amira, the lead agent in the city for the Islamic Liberation Party (Hizb ut-Tahrir); and Abbas’ handpicked henchmen, the intemperate Grand Mufti Muhammad Ahmad Hussein and the fanatic former chief justice of the PA’s religious court, Sheikh Tayseer Al-Tamimi.

Their sermons, “charitable” enterprises and educational programs glorify terrorists and explicitly call for violent resistance to Israel. Their networks (along with Fatah social media) also are the source for the libel that Al-Aqsa mosque is at risk.

It’s also not too hard to arrest 2,000 of their key street activists — those leading the riots in the city.

Israel should unsheathe its sovereign power and put the extremists down; decisive action that one day might allow for Palestinian moderates to emerge.

David M. Weinberg (www.davidmweinberg.com) is director of public affairs at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

Abbas is playing a dangerous game

July 27, 2017

Abbas is playing a dangerous game, Israel Hayom, Yaron Blum, July 27, 2017

(Please see also, Israel’s public diplomacy challenge. “Of course, the world rightly assumes that no nation would willingly give up what is rightly theirs, and so millions watching from the sidelines throw their support behind the violent side that refuses to compromise.” — DM)

The threat of stopping the security coordination with Israel is likely to turn on Abbas, as Hamas is lurking around the corner, waiting for the opportunity to stage a coup against the Palestinian Authority as it did in 2007 in the Gaza Strip. The need to calm these players down is of the utmost importance if the wave of incitement is to stop becoming a wave of more lone terrorist attacks.

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The Temple Mount crisis is far from over. The latest excuse for the Palestinians’ riots is Israel’s decision to conduct manual security checks on the Temple Mount complex.

How transparent and pathetic. Everyone with something at stake on the Temple Mount or Al-Aqsa mosque understands that the site has become a fantastic vantage point from which to promote personal interests. For the average Muslims, the Temple Mount and any change in its status quo is a red line. Indeed, this motif prompts millions in the Muslim world to take to the streets and is strong enough to glue the various streams in Muslim and Palestinian communities worldwide together.

Tensions apparently came to an end after an agreement between Jordan and Israel to take down the metal detectors and security cameras installed on the Temple Mount after the July 14 terrorist attack carried out by three gunmen from Umm al-Fahm. Despite this, the Muslim players found an excuse to reignite the playing field. And who are these players’ captains? The Palestinian Authority, Hamas, organizations active around Al-Aqsa, Waqf workers, the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, and Turkey.

Even though Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is once again disparaging Israel and its policies, despite agreements between him and Israel, the star of the week is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. From a point of great weakness against rivals in the Fatah movement, such as exiled party official Mohammed Dahlan — not to mention Hamas — Abbas realized that the “Al-Aqsa is in danger” narrative had the potential to add to his failing power. At the moment he is doing everything to ignite the streets, whether through his own voice or through the heads of the Tanzim, one of Fatah’s militant factions, and Fatah itself.

Palestinian Authority and Palestinian security apparatus officials, who had received orders to suspend the security coordination with Israel before its decision to remove security measures on the site, are now calling to further escalate the popular struggle by taking to the streets in protests planned for Friday in the Temple Mount area against the “occupation.”

Abbas’ recent declarations and direct involvement in the escalation stand out in their irregularity and are worrying. Most of all, however, these are new because they do not hide behind excuses. He is not meandering, maybe because he feels that the bullets in his gun are running out and this step can improve his current low position. Abbas is playing a double game: With the U.S. and the international community, he conveys a message of willingness to negotiate with Israel; while on the other hand, when speaking of the Temple Mount crisis, he comes out with contradictory, obtrusive statements on cutting ties, as well as calls likely to be construed as condoning terrorist activity by young Fatah and Tanzim members.

The threat of stopping the security coordination with Israel is likely to turn on Abbas, as Hamas is lurking around the corner, waiting for the opportunity to stage a coup against the Palestinian Authority as it did in 2007 in the Gaza Strip. The need to calm these players down is of the utmost importance if the wave of incitement is to stop becoming a wave of more lone terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, a handful of residents in the Jewish community in Hebron are taking advantage of the situation by invading the Machpelah House, adjacent to the Cave of the Patriarchs, over which they claim ownership. This creates a new and dangerous point of contention, as well as a post the Israeli army and police are forced to protect. Some would understand this development as a provocation for escalation — and it is difficult to argue with that.

Yaron Blum is a former senior Shin Bet security service officer.

Palestinians: Israel’s Goodwill Gestures Send Wrong Messages

June 2, 2017

Palestinians: Israel’s Goodwill Gestures Send Wrong Messages, Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, June 2, 2017

Here is what is being said on the Palestinian street: Today Israel runs away from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip; tomorrow Israel will run away from Ashkelon, then from Tel Aviv and from there to the sea, and we have achieved our goal of destroying Israel. Therefore, we need to continue attacking Israel.

As with the Gaza Strip, the withdrawal from Lebanon taught the Palestinians that terrorism could drive Israelis out of their country.

Never have the Palestinians given Israel credit for its goodwill steps. On the contrary, they scoff at these moves and describe them as “cosmetic changes”. The Palestinian line is that Israel’s steps are “insufficient” and “unhelpful.” Its concessions are regarded as gestures of a terrified people and as the rightful reward for terrorism. Far from satiating the appetite of the terrorists, such steps prompt them to step up their attacks against Israelis.

The West suffers under a major misconception concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: that “goodwill gestures” and territorial concessions on the part of Israel boost the prospects of peace in the Middle East. The facts, however, suggest that precisely the opposite is true.

Last week, Israel’s Channel 10 television station reported that the U.S. administration was pushing Israel to transfer parts of Area C — areas under full Israeli security and civilian control in the West Bank — to the control of Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA). According to the report, the U.S. believes that the transfer of the territory to the PA would be a “goodwill step” towards the Palestinians, paving the way for the revival of the stalled peace process with Israel.

This assumption, of course, has already proven wrong. The experiences of the past few decades have shown clearly that Israeli concessions have always sent the wrong message to the Palestinians.

In fact, Palestinians read Israeli goodwill steps as signs of weakness and retreat. This misinterpretation on the part of the Palestinians then leads to more violence against Israel. It would be hard for anyone not to conclude that if pressure works, keep on pressuring.

The past 24 years are littered with examples of how the Palestinians react to Israeli concessions.

The Oslo Accords that were signed between Israel and the PLO in 1993 were seen by Palestinians as a first step by Israel towards total capitulation.

The accords, which brought the PLO from several Arab countries to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, came after five years of the first Palestinian Intifada. By allowing the PLO to assume control over large parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel sent a message that it was caving in to the violence and terrorism of the First Intifada.

Barely a breath after Oslo, Israel was again asked to conciliate the Palestinians: this time, hundreds of prisoners, many with Jewish (and Arab) blood on their hands, were released from Israeli prison in order to create an atmosphere “conducive” to the peace process.

Instead of viewing the prisoner release for what it was, namely a generous gesture, many Palestinians considered it a “victory” for terrorism and violence. Worse, it was not long before many of the released prisoners were rearrested for their role in further terrorism against Israel. The release of prisoners also sent a message of recidivism to Palestinians: terror does indeed pay! A short stint in an Israeli prison is sure to lead to release in some Israeli “confidence-building measure” or other.

According to statistics, at least half of released Palestinian prisoners have returned to terrorism.

Despite the grim statistics, the international community regularly demands that Israel release more convicted terrorists as a “gesture” towards Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinians.

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK – OCTOBER 30: Released Palestinian prisoners stand on a sage as they arrive to the Mukata Presidential Compound in the early morning hours on October 30, 2013 in Ramallah, West Bank. The 26 Palestinian prisoners were released by Israel as part of the terms of renewed U.S.-brokered peace talks. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Getty Images)

Since 1993, Israel has complied again and again with such international pressure, only to reinforce the message to Palestinians: terrorism is indeed worth the trouble.

Let us consider, for a moment, Gaza. In 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip, after destroying 21 Jewish settlements and expelling more than 8,000 Jews from their homes there.

In Palestinian eyes, however, the Israeli “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip was anything but an olive branch of peace. The withdrawal came after five years of the bloody Second Intifada, when Palestinians waged a massive campaign of suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Israelis.

Thus, for Palestinians, Israel was once again retreating in the face of unremitting bloodshed.

Here is what is being said on the Palestinian street: Today Israel runs away from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, tomorrow Israel will run away from Ashkelon, then from Ashdod and Tel Aviv and from there to the sea, and we have achieved our goal of destroying Israel. Therefore, we need to continue attacking Israel.

Moreover, it was also precisely the Israeli pullout from Gaza that launched Hamas to its current pinnacle of popularity among Palestinians. Hamas took credit for expelling the Jews from the Gaza Strip through terrorism. A few months later, Hamas even won the Palestinian parliamentary election because Palestinians gave Hamas total credit for driving Israel out of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli pullout told Palestinians in no uncertain terms: Why bother negotiating when terror will do the trick?

Five years earlier, the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon also had the same effect: it emboldened the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group. As with the Gaza Strip, the withdrawal from Lebanon taught the Palestinians that terrorism could drive Israelis out of their country.

In the past few years, additional Israeli goodwill gestures, such as removing security checkpoints and the easing travel restrictions in the West Bank, led to yet more violence, claiming the lives of yet more Israelis.

Abbas and his top officials have always responded to Israeli gestures with cynicism. Never have they given Israel credit for its goodwill steps. On the contrary, they scoff at these moves, and describe them as “cosmetic changes aimed at beautifying Israel’s ugly face” or as public-relations stunts.

For the sake of clarity, let us say it clearly: handing over areas in the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority, and the release of convicted murderers, does not contribute to any sort of “peace process;” it only contributes to the death of more Israelis.

The Palestinian line is that Israel’s steps are “insufficient” and “unhelpful.” Its concessions are regarded as gestures of a terrified people and as the rightful reward for terrorism. Far from satiating the appetite of the terrorists, such steps prompt them to step up their attacks against Israelis. The next time Americans and Europeans think of asking Israel to cede yet more to the Palestinians, let them consider what Israel might be receiving in return, other than the spilling of more Jewish blood.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.