For seventeen years it has been dubbed the Israel-Palestinian Peace Process. Forget, of course, that most of the “peace” took place only in the minds of the Israelis or that the “process” has more than often seen Israeli concessions met with Palestinian intransigence.
Forget all of it. Because the Palestinians now, after establishing their international bona fides as an oppressed minority, have sought to by-pass the very process they once co-initiated. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has made it clear that he has no further use for negotiations with Israel and that the path to his version of peace lies in obtaining international recognition of a Palestinian state ,within borders that the Palestinians themselves will define – and regardless of whatever the Israelis need or demand.
It is easy to understand why Abbas and his prime minister Sallam Fayyad would seek to circumvent Israel. It is diplomatically weak and fundamentally isolated. It is also relatively simple to characterize Benjamin Netanyahu as a defiant hawk who has no interest in serious negotiations because that is clearly the image the world already possesses of both him and almost every one of his predecessors.
But to flout the United States – now that takes some chutzpah. Clearly such a strategy derives from a sense that the United States itself is weak – led by a naive and ill informed president who has made a complete mess of his Middle East policy as he has spent two years watching the Palestinians stonewall negotiations and effectively scuttle any U.S. plans for a final peace deal.
Having won the recognition of 112 countries, including eight South American nations, the Palestinians are now hoping to have at least 150 nations recognize them by September – including Spain and Britain.
What an unmitigated disaster for American foreign policy! The notion, embedded in Obama’s thinking for two years, that only Israel should be pressured into make concessions, has tragically backfired as the Palestinians took this as a signal not that the U.S. stood resolutely by the Palestinians’ side, but that the special relationship between the United States and Israel was rapidly evaporating.
The situation might have been far different if the Palestinians had been told, in no uncertain terms, that they could expect nothing themselves from the United States – no aid, no diplomatic cover, no visits to the White House -until they reformed their education system, stopped naming streets after men and women who had slaughtered Jews and ceased constant incitement against the State of Israel.
To any cleared headed analyst these are the true obstacles which stand in the way of any effective peace agreement between Israel and a future state of Palestine. None one mentions it because these facts are too inconvenient and don’t jibe with the established wisdom that only Israeli concessions can deliver the peace. But the Palestinians have spent years taking advantage of the world’s ignorance. Now, to everyone’s sad amazement, a failed American policy has allowed the Palestinian Frankenstein to restlessly wander the earth seeking comfort and support from other nations who will one day turn not only turn hostile to Israel, but eventually to the United States as well.