Why Palestinians may never make peace....
Palestinian nationalism flowered in the last century not as an attempt to recreate an ancient ethnic or national identity or to recover a dying language or culture, as was the case with nationalist revivals in places like Ireland, the Czech Republic or even the Jewish movement of Zionism. Rather, it was a reaction to the Jewish return to the land. Though apologists for the Palestinians contend that it was not a purely negative movement, it is impossible to understand Palestinian nationalism as anything but an effort to prevent Zionism from succeeding. Its essence is the illegitimacy of the Jewish state, and any effort to wean it from that belief constitutes a contradiction that the Palestinian grass roots and its vast refugee diaspora simply cannot accept.
It is this everlasting Palestinian “no” that is the basic fact of the Middle East conflict that cannot be talked out of existence. Nor can it be charmed away by Israeli concessions that stop short of the destruction of the Jewish state.
Put simply, it was, by Abbas in his Sept. 2011 address to the UN General Assembly, when he proclaimed:
I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and in the the Diaspora, to say, after 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba: Enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.
There we have it: "to say, after 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba: Enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence."
Subtracting 63 from 2011 leaves not 1967, but 1948. It thus is not Israeli post-1967 settlements that are the true barrier to a just and lasting peace. It is Israel's 1948 creation that Palestinians memorialize as al nakba--"the catastrophe"--that stands in the way of what the Palestinians really seek: a one-state, non-Jewish--solution.
Yes, otter passages in Abbas's speech appear to contradict this--all the stuff about those settlements. Except that "63" sets the context for interpreting the entire UN speech given by Abbas. And that context centers over Israel's very existence as a Jewish state.
In this spirit is Abbas's latest "peace" fatuity. Israel, for its part, stymied a weekend "flytilla" by pro-Palestinian agitators masquerading as human rights activists. PM Bibi issued a neat letter to the unholy gaggle of public nuisances at Ben-Gurion Airport, as reported by WaPo:
“You could have chosen to protest the Syrian regime’s daily savagery against its own people . . . [or] the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent,” the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote in a letter that it said would be distributed to fly-in participants who landed in Israel. “Instead you chose to protest against Israel, the Middle East’s sole democracy.”
Meanwhile President Obama's "give me space" foreign policy is in full force: nothing bad can be allowed to happen before November 7, the day after the election; forcing more delay re an Iran strike by Israel is one manifestation. Perhaps it is better if The One scouts out new vacation ideas for his family, which may divert him from pressuring Israel anew.
Bottom Line. The "peace process" is in news eclipse due to North Korea and Iran and Syria. It will, surely as night follows day & day follows night, return. If not in 2012, then it will return at the start of Obama's second term or Romney's first.
And if Romney wins, there will be an opportunity to transform the terms of debate as to the Arab - Israeli conflict, from a dispute over land to the existential struggle it, sadly, remains.
And then, at long last, there will be no ambiguity as to where America must stand.
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