When, two weeks ago, Mahmoud Abbas stood before the United Nations and declared the Oslo Accords dead, he was only confirming what had been obvious to Israelis ( if not the world) for more than 15 years. The Accords, signed with such pomp, ceremony and optimism 22 years ago at the White House had long since been ignored by the Palestinian Authority for their primary purpose – building the framework for a permanent peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians. Rather, the reversion to terror, the stock-in- trade of Fatah and its kleptocratic mafiosa who returned from Tunis with Yasser Arafat in 1993 – has been the only consistent policy of the Palestinian leadership over the intervening 22 years.
So now arrives the 15th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second Intifada and almost on cue, a new round of violence has erupted in Israel – this time without question instigated by the Palestinian leadership. Anyone caring to read the highly reputable Palestinian Media Watch or the redoubtable MEMRI, both of which offer reports and translations of the statements of Palestinian leaders and the Palestinian media, will find hard evidence of the incitement to murder and the lies of leaders such as Abbas and Erekat who have trafficked for years in the absolute falsehood that the Jews are seeking to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
It is nothing new. Over the past 95 years, whenever the Palestinian leadership has sought to build political capital either domestically or abroad they have regularly resorted to the allegations of the Al Asqa Mosque’s defilement as their casas belli.
It happened in April,1920 during the Nebi Musa riots in the Old City of Jerusalem; in August, 1929 prior to the Tarpat massacres in Hebron; it was a precursor to the Arab revolt of 1936 and to the War of Independence of 1948; and most recently in 2000 the allegation was used when Ariel Sharon decided to visit the Temple Mount. Each time, the war cry, carried vociferously over the airwaves and into every Palestinian home, was the threat of a Jewish takeover of the Dome of the Rock. It galvanized thousands of young men to murder of their friends and neighbors.
The accommodations that the Israelis have afforded the Arab leadership on the captured Temple Mount, the holiest location in Judaism -yet a far less holy shrine to Islam – has been remarkably forthcoming, but in the end self-defeating. The Arabs have repaid this generosity with murder, mayhem and an attempt to destroy any archaeological evidence that verifies a one time Jewish presence on the Temple Mount.
Now Abbas ignites another Intifada, not out of hopelessness as so many in the Western media are pontificating, but out of calculation. Having consistently dodged any attempt to resolve the Israeli- Palestinian conflict peacefully through open negotiation; having failed to unilaterally obtain U.N. sanction for a Palestinian state based on the 1949 cease fire lines, Abbas is following the model of previous Palestinian leaders – the Grand Mufti Haj Amin al Husseini and Yasser Arafat in leading a glorious revolt against the Palestinians’ so-called Jewish oppressors.
But there should be deep caution in such an approach. Both al Husseini and Arafat set back the Palestinian cause years, if not generations, when they urged their followers to resort to violence. Haj Amin al Husseini was eventually deported by the British and ended his life in exile in Egypt and Lebanon, where, for the remaining 35 years of his life, he exerted very little influence over the course of events in his homeland.
Arafat ended his life a virtual prisoner in his Ramallah compound, unable to do much but make ineffectual public statements that not even his own people paid much attention to. He died with his plans for winning his Palestinian state through war in ruins, thousands of his own people dead and with diminishing world sympathy.
Mahmoud Abbas now faces the prospect of a similar fate. The Israeli leadership will not long tolerate a Palestinian leader who publicly incites his people to murder Jews and bestows his blessing on the perpetrators. The irony is, of course, that Abbas has known for years that it is the Israeli military who keeps him safe and in nominal control of the West Bank. Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2006, has long plotted his usurpation. In a Hobson’s Choice he has relied on the Israelis to prop him up, since his Palestinian ‘moderation’ is presented as a far more propitious alternative than that of a genocidal monster licking its chops on the outskirts of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.
But this may soon end. Seen as permanently abandoning diplomacy, the Israeli government may abandon him as well, and re- establish administrative control over the areas of the West Bank where the Palestinian Authority now reigns. This is an uncomfortable and highly problematic choice for the Israelis, fraught with diplomatic peril, but in the end there may be no other means to ensure the safety and security of Israeli civilians.
Abbas’ fate in such a scenario is anyone’s guess. But ending up in exile like al Husseini or in virtual prison like Arafat, might not be too bad an option when considering the alternative planned for him at the hands of Hamas.