When Professor Yonah met Abbas

MK Yonah reports that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas wishes to repair the trust between Israel and PA - but he is no peace lover.

Yoel Domb ,

MK Yonah
MK Yonah
Flash 90

MK Prof. Yossi Yonah (Zionist Camp) took part in a meeting with the head of the PA, Mahmoud Abbas, last Thursday. The meeting, which was organized by Ahmed Tibi and also included MK Ksenia Svetlova, was held at the request of Mahmoud Abbas himself and aimed to "enable both sides to find a common base with which to continue the talks that could lead to a solution to the conflict" according to Yonah's description in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

Yonah believes that Mahmoud Abbas wants to reach the Israeli public and try to rebuild the shaky trust between the two sides but has no interest in meeting Netanyahu at present. He asked Mahmoud Abbas why he did not condemn the murder of Hallel Ariel and in response Mahmoud Abbas asked why Israel did not condemn Mohammed Hadir's death. Yonah insisted that "We still expect a condemnation from you in such cases".

Yonah told Mahmoud Abbas that his views as a Jew and Zionist are clear and he could not accept the Palestinian Authority demand for a right of return. He expects the PA to recognize the state of Israel as a Jewish state but does not see this as a precondition for talks.

Yonah reported that the Palestinian Authority demands a cessation of Jewish development in Judea and Samaria as a prerequisite for peace talks but that he himself told them that just as he makes no preconditions, they, too, should not make preconditions.

Yonah was also asked if anybody had asked Mahmoud Abbas why he continues to transfer a salary to imprisoned terrorists and why the senior terrorists who committed more despicable acts of terror receive a higher salary. His evasive response was that that the security cooperation with the Palestinian Police continues at a very high level and even though Mahmoud Abbas may incite against us, he still cooperates daily with Israel at the security level.

He adds "When I arrived at the Mukataa I did not find a lover of Zion or one who has any affection for the Jewish nation. He is our enemy today and the head of an authority which has a bloody dispute with us but we, as Jews, have an interest in solving the issue with this man who is relatively easygoing. I didn't find a peace lover there but rather one who intends to promote the Palestinian interest. I, as a Jew, intend to promote the Jewish nation's interest which is to live in peace with the people living on the other side of the '67 borders."

Yonah was asked what would happen if, after signing some form of agreement with Mahmoud Abbas, he would be ousted by Hamas, who would remove his organization and cancel all agreements? He answered that "If we were to reach an agreement, it is important that there be international and regional guarantees which would prevent a change in power." He believes that, just as in Egypt, when the extremist Moslem brotherhood took power but did not abrogate agreements with Israel, Hamas would also have an interest in maintaining the peace agreement.

Yonah is convinced that an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria would not endanger Ben Gurion airport. He believes that Hamas is aware of the Israeli military response and would think "a million times" before it sent any missile into Israeli territory. Yonah conceded that, in order to prepare for peace, one must be ready for the option of war.