Thursday, July 15, 2010

MORE more apologies for Abbas

As we noted here, here, here, and here, Reuters has been on a tear apologizing for Palestinian intransigence in their refusal to enter into direct peace talks with Israel.  Correspondent Tom Perry continues in this vein with a story today on Fatah urging Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to sit tight:
The Palestinian president's Fatah party said on Thursday there should be no move to face-to-face Middle East peace talks sought by the United States without progress in the indirect talks it is mediating.
From the perspective of a partisan reporter who writes as if he were a spokesman for the Palestinians, here is the money line in the story:
But Abbas is wary of negotiating directly with an Israeli leader he believes unwilling to settle the Middle East conflict on terms acceptable to the Palestinians.
This notion hearkens back to Perry's previous story where he made what amounts to the same argument, i.e, Abbas will not enter into negotiations unless he is guaranteed to have all of his demands met in advance of those negotiations.  And if the Israelis have their own terms which conflict with Palestinian demands?  Well of course, those must be surrendered for Abbas to agree to talk.

In other words, the Palestinians are seeking not compromise, but capitulation.  And a guarantee of that in advance.
The Palestinian leader has been a central figure in years of fruitless diplomacy aimed at negotiating the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
No quibble there.  But of course, the more relevant question is why precisely, that diplomacy has proved fruitless.
Abbas says the indirect talks should make progress towards agreement on the borders of the state the Palestinians aim to establish alongside Israel on land it occupied in a 1967 war and security arrangements for the "two-state solution.
Actually, what the Palestinians are demanding is that negotiations begin where the last negotiations ended: an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state with all of Gaza, 97 percent of the West Bank, Arab neighborhoods in the eastern part of Jerusalem, and recognition of a "right of return" for Palestinian refugees.  That extraordinary offer, which represents essentially all of what the Palestinian Authority says it wants in a peace settlement, was summarily rejected by Mahmoud Abbas in 2008.

Perry completely omits mention of this history but does conjure up one of his favorite "go-to" Palestinian sources for an analysis of the situation which we think comes close to hitting the mark on why Abbas and the Palestinians will never make peace with Israel:
"The main issue is how to go back to direct negotations without completely losing face."
Because for the Arabs, the fear of losing face, i.e., accepting a Jewish sovereign in the Middle East after years of failed wars, takes precedence over burying the hatchet and benevolently ending a century-old conflict that has cost both sides thousands of lives and untold suffering.

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