Mahmoud Abbas, in a meeting with four MKs from United Arab List – Ta’al, indicated that the Arab (Saudi) peace initiative was not going to be modified.
Well, I’m quite glad to hear this, because this means that they are not going to relinquish the demand for the "right of return," and that, as a result, the Arab initiative will remain unacceptable to Israel. For even Olmert, even Olmert, will not agree to take 4.2 million "refugees" into Israel. Never mind surrendering all of eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and Kotel.
As it is, Olmert is making sickeningly conciliatory statements, such as the one he delivered during a speech in Tel Aviv, saying that Israel is ready to make "sweeping, painful and tough concessions" to encourage dialogue with the Arabs.
And I ask, Why, Ehud? Why? How many sweeping concessions do you imagine we have to make before it’s enough? And what sweeping concessions have they made in return? Ehud, where is your national pride?
Olmert actually said that the Saudi plan could serve as a "convenient basis" (whatever that means) for dialogue between Israel and moderate Arab states. That’s why I’m so glad Abbas said what he did.
And why is Olmert being so sickeningly conciliatory in his words? I suspect this is for Condoleezza’s Rice’s ear. For, while our Cabinet has voted to dispense with "political horizons" to be offered to the Palestinian Arabs (i.e., a view of what they can expect if they’re good), she thinks we should continue with this. In one of her many detached-from-reality statements, she said:
"I think it’s extremely important to show American commitment to a political horizon so the Palestinian people can see their future rests with moderate forces like [Mahmoud Abbas], not with those forces that are extreme."
Sigh… I wish someone would inform the secretary that, as Abbas has signed on to the unity gov’t platform, he really cannot be labeled a "moderate."
Rice is coming here on Sunday and has meetings scheduled with Olmert and Abbas. Word is that she is going to pressure Olmert to continue talking to Abbas about those "political horizons."
When I think about this whole process — this foolish attempt to "lure" the Arabs to make peace with us, I am reminded of the wisdom of Moshe Sharon, Prof. of Islamic History at Hebrew University, who has written several times about the way to negotiate with the Arabs.
In the Middle East, says Sharon, negotiations are done according to the rules of the bazaar:
"In the bazaar, the most important rule is that if the vendor knows about your desire to purchase a certain merchandise, he will put its price up…
"[We must remember] the Roman saying: ‘If you want peace – prepare for war.’ Never come to the negotiating table from a position of weakness. Your adversary should always know that you are strong and ready for war even more than you are ready for peace.
"…Israel should stop speaking about ‘peace’ and delete the word ‘peace’ from its vocabulary together with such phrases as ‘the price of peace’ or ‘territory for peace.’ For a hundred years the Jews have been begging the Arabs to sell them peace, ready to pay any price.
"…Israel should openly declare that peace does not exist as an option in the Arab-Israeli conflict…
"…If the Arabs want peace, Israel should fix its price in real terms. The Arabs will pay if they reach the conclusion that Israel is so strong that they cannot destroy it. Because of this, Israel’s deterrent power is essential."
Let the Arabs sue for peace because they’re afraid of us. Now there’s a novel idea. If only…
There is one thing that Sec. Rice got right in these last few days, and I want to give credit where it’s due. The US, she says, is talking to the PA about the need to end incitement in its schoolbooks and to publish maps that include Israel. And this I heartily salute.
This week, Palestinian Media Watch (http://www.pmw.org.il/) did a presentation on new PA 12th grade school books for the Knesset Education Committee. Among the points made:
— These books have been produced under the auspices of Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah, not Hamas. They reflect Fatah ideology.
— They define the battle with Israel as a "religious battle." "This teaching transfers the conflict from a territorial, nationalistic conflict to a religious conflict where there is no room for compromise."
— Israel is defined as "colonial imperialism" and not legitimate. For example: "Palestine’s war ended with a catastrophe that is unprecedented in history, when the Zionist gangs stole Palestine …and established the State of Israel." .
— The goal is a state in all of "Palestine" and not Gaza and the West Bank.
— Not a single map in any textbook in the PA includes Israel. What is more, in the new books under discussion, text refers to Palestine as if it already exists as a state.
After the presentation, committee chair MK Michael Melchior (Labor) demanded that Olmert raise the issue of incitement in these books when he next meets with Abbas.
Several Israeli gov’ts, including this one, have consciously avoided raising this issue — which is not new — with the PA, or publicizing what is said in the schoolbooks. Once it’s known what is being taught to the Palestinian Arab children, it becomes very hard to believe in the possibility of peace.
The remaining question now is how Rice can speak out against this sort of garbage produced under the umbrella of Abbas and still refer to him as "moderate."
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2007/3/22/posted-march-22-2007.html