Arab Palestinian paradox
President Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Arab Palestinian Authority and the successor to Yassir Arafat recently gave an interview on Egyptian TV in which he stated that the second intifada was the greatest mistake in Arab Palestinian history. This admission is significant because it is one of the first times that an Arab Palestinian leader, instead of harping exclusively on Palestinian victimhood, assigned Palestinians responsibility for their own fate. He didn’t even claim that the second intifada was in response to something Israel did.
The second intifada was indeed a terrible mistake. Four years of continuous terror against Israel not only wiped out Israel’s peace camp in the Knesset but has built a case for the right wing: If Israel gives up territory to the Arab Palestinians, the result is a wave of terror. If Israel gives up territory to the Arab Palestinians, then you increase the motivation to attack Israel repeatedly. The ongoing rocket fire into Southern Israel after the disengagement from Gaza ruined the little that was left of the peace camp. The Palestinians are indeed quite directly responsible for the move of Israel’s electorate to the right. If Abbas were to repeat his statement on Israeli TV, he would do much to convince even more Israeli’s that the Arab Palestinians cannot be trusted and that all that interest them is pocketing concessions till the next round. He might want to remind the public that in all, the total of Israelis who have been killed due to Oslo, the withdrawal from Lebanon and the Palestinian terror war which followed Camp David comes to around 2,000.
Why Israeli’s are so bad at Hasbara
We live in a country, which has been under effective world quarantine for nearly all if its history. We live in a society whose trait of unbridled openness has become something of a “learning disability”. We speak a language, which is light years and thousands of literal years away from television English. We are bathed in a culture which began thousands of years ago and fully recorded in the bible. We insulate and armour ourselves with resiliency being able to rebound from any impossible situation. We have little reason if any reason to believe that world will give us a fair shake. We have a shared, largely unspoken truth, which is based, in part, on the world's inability to fathom, understand, or justify our collective behavior. We believe that no matter what Israel does, much of the world is likely to condemn us. And in this, at least, Israel has seldom been proven wrong.
President Obama must stop demanding the impossible from Israel
The essential task that President Obama should pursue today in the Middle East is the prevention of war. This is not the same as pursuing peace. Sometimes it's precisely the attempt to achieve an unattainable peace that ignites a war. In the current sensitive situation, there must be no illusions and no mistakes. Political correctness must not be allowed to cause a historic disaster. And when the glasses of political correctness are taken off, a clear picture emerges. To prevent war in the Middle East, the United States and Israel must show the strength of a strategic alliance, deterrence and genuine common interests . Together they must promote a cautious and gradual diplomatic process that will weaken the region's extremists, strengthen its moderates and curb Iran.
The main responsibility now rests with the United States and President Obama who has wasted 15 precious months in dialogue with Iran without imposing any sanctions and maintaining the illusion of an immediate Israeli- Arab Palestinian peace. The open, unilateral pressure Washington has exerted on Jerusalem has both distanced peace and brought war closer. Therefore, if the Obama administration does not want the next war to be named after it, it must urgently change its policies. It must demand the possible from Israel, not the imaginary. It must demand what is essential from Iran. It must show determined and sober leadership that will prevent war now.