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Op-Ed: Time to Stop PA Blackmail

It’s time to call the PA’s bluff.
Published: Wednesday, April 02, 2014 5:31 PM



The PA conditioned peace negotiations with Israel on terrorists’ release from Israeli jails. That was their sole purpose in coming to the table.
If you believe what Palestinian leaders are saying in public and in private, you ought to be convinced that the American-sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are being manipulated by the Palestinians with the aim of pulling off short-term political gains for the present Palestinian leadership, rather than engendering a long-lasting peace between them and Israel.

Abbas and the rest of the Arab countries have recently reaffirmed their outright objections to several key issues, fundamental to a lasting peace, as part of a two-state solution. These issues include the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State rather than a Muslim land with some Jews living in it, and giving up demands for the right of return of refugees’ descendants to Israel.

The Palestinian Arabs know that the Israeli government will not sign on a peace accord for a Two-State solution as long as these issues stay open, because peace will never take root, and conflict between the two states will intensify as long as the Arabs soldier on claiming rights and entitlements to the Jewish state.

As recently as several days ago, as Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) stated in its April 1, 2014 bulletin, Fatah spokesman, Ahmad Assaf, announced that the Palestinians have blackmailed Israel to release prisoners (a.k.a terrorists with blood on their hands) by threatening to take Israel to the international court of the UN unless Israel released 104 prisoners.

Senior PA leader, Nabil Shaath has claimed that “due to the prisoners we have not stopped negotiations.”

Others have also made clear that the PA conditioned peace negotiations with Israel on terrorists’ release from Israeli jails. That was their sole purpose in coming to the table.

Had the Palestinian Authority been interested in peace with a Jewish state next door, they would have embraced peace talks without any pre-conditions simply because once there is genuine peace between Palestinian Arabs and Jews, both would have their own state (where and how would have been worked out) and incitements against Jews would stop; terrorists would no longer be regarded as heroes; many of them would be released anyway since violence would lose its glamor, and the Palestinian Arab population would reject terror from within.  

Dream on. Nice try, but no cigar.

The absurdity of the peace negotiations situation, where Palestinian Arabs are able to benefit not by reaching out for peace, but merely by showing up, can be highlighted by comparing it to a hypothetical situation where the Taliban tell the US that if the Americans set free the al Qaeda terrorists in Guantanamo, including the ones responsible for planning the 9-11 attack, they will sit down and negotiate peace in Afghanistan.

We all know that showing up for the negotiations is meaningless unless it’s driven by a true desire for a just peace. We all know that once the Americans leave Afghanistan the Taliban—just like the North Vietnamese in the 60s—will try to take the whole country over by force, regardless of any piece of paper they sign or don't sign.

It’s time to call the PA’s bluff. Peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs cannot come into existence as long as the PA gets rewarded merely for showing up. The only reward the Palestinian Arabs should be reaping out of the peace process is peace itself.

And if that outcome proves to be an insufficient incentive for them to join in, then it is proof that they are not sincere about reaching a peaceful end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. It proves that the whole peace process is exploited by the PA purely as a manipulative tool designed to gain short term benefits. It is not a peace process; it is a con game, successfully played by the PA.