The State of Israel released 26 murderers. Some Israelis will justify this with reference to the ongoing conflict since a situation of enduring warfare creates inequality between peoples which cannot be resolved without the achievement of peace. Many in the Muslim world will celebrate the release of murderers. Far too many in the Western World (particularly within the anti-Zionist Left) will delight in this concession granted to the Palestinian Authority, ostensibly because unequal justice is no justice at all.
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet agreed the move for political reasons. Abu Mazen in his turn did not demand as pre-conditions for negotiation either a return to the 1967 borders or a construction freeze. Israel held him to his word by announcing prior to the commencement of negotiations the construction of 940 housing units in Jerusalem and a further 1,200 within Judea and Samaria.
Perhaps the ultra-orthodox are more far sighted than we thought. If peace talks fail they will be the only political force in Israel that retains any credibility.
Is it reasonable to assume failure for this latest round of negotiations (the first in three years) even as they have barely begun? If peace were hopes then success would be guaranteed in spite of any obstacles. Polls on both sides have consistently supported the talks by a margin of two to one. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4417563,00.html Courage is a pivotal requirement for both sides and peace will not be achievable without it. But the greatest danger facing both sides is incitement – it shows failure of nerve. So where are the pitfalls?
Palestinians never cease to incite hatred of Israel’s Jewish population while promoting maximalist demands reminiscent of previous Jew-haters throughout history. Mr. Abbas tells the world that his country will be Judenrein (Clean of Jews). At the end of July 2013 he reiterated this point (according to Reuters) in a briefing he gave to mostly Egyptian journalists.
Such tactics are not intended to encourage faith in negotiations. Fatah recently honored jailed Fatah Leader Marwan Barghouti because he had killed “61 Zionists”. When we glorify killers we also send out a message. Sticks and stones will break your bones but with words begin the slaughter.
President Mahmoud Abbas received his doctorate by denying the holocaust and associating Zionism with Nazism. He later justified his position with reference to the ongoing state of war between the two peoples (Jews and Muslims?) and “in 2013 he reasserted the veracity of the contents of his thesis” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Abbas
That said, is it credible to announce the expansion of Israeli construction within “disputed territories” even though in most Arab/Muslim eyes all of Israel is disputed territory? Realistically, the world will soon forget that Israel released 26 murderers as a “gesture of reconciliation” and blame us for (to use yet another former Nazi expression) our “Judaization” of Arab (Palestinian) land.
Realistically, the way to a conclusion of successful negotiation is not through making further concessions (even prisoner releases) to a holocaust denying President but by applying pressure through his fellow Arab and Muslim leaders around the world.
Israel has a case for its defense and it is time to trumpet it loud and clear. Blame, if it is not Arab, is ours, and frankly, that is not an option we should accept. It is naïve to believe at this time, in compromising on our history because the current global narrative does not accept the original sin of Palestinian dislocation. Our conflict begins long before 1948 and it is a weapon of Arab and Muslim prejudice that has enabled them to rule us all with fear for too long.
For Israel to get Palestinian attention the Arab world must appreciate that they have the potential for significant losses – both spiritual and material – if they continue to use the conflict as an excuse to extort from the West rights and privileges that no other people receive. Islam is a political theology, like communism, only of considerably greater vintage. And like communism it has grown by conquest, by terror and by waging a relentless propaganda war that mocks its rivals as it creates fear in them. If Muslims scream hatred from the political and religious pulpit then peace is not possible, except as a sham. Throughout its history Trojan Horses have taken many forms. ‘Religion of Peace’ is one of the memes used by Islam and its western apologists.
Pressure from brother Arab nations and the worldwide Muslim community can create a momentum for change in the Palestinian leadership if the same bad press begins to attach to them, by association.
It is even possible that theological Nazis such as Hamas could be terminally muzzled, but for that to happen Israel must start to consider the end game. That starts with fighting the propaganda war. And nothing that I have either read or heard would indicate that Jerusalem has the faintest idea of how to even create the conditions under which we may approach the starting point of an end game.