For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Hillel Frisch BESA Perspectives 113 01 September '10
(While written a couple of days before the get-together, an excellent and on-target analysis. Y. )
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Substantive progress in the peace process is hardly what Mahmoud Abbas is seeking to achieve in Washington. While he wishes to maintain an appearance of movement in the negotiations, he cannot yet afford to lose the Israeli army presence in the West Bank as the threat of a Hamas takeover there still looms. While all of the major political actors involved concur on this point, the pretense of peace talks is essential to keeping the Arab world at bay.
When Abbas arrives in Washington, he and his retinue will be focused on exclusively three issues – making sure that the settlement freeze continues, that aid which covers over 70 per cent of the Palestinian Authority budget will continue to flow into its coffers, and that there will be sufficient "momentum" in the peace process to placate the "Arab street." Any meaningful progress towards peace is simply beyond these West Bankers’ hopes or capabilities. Oddly enough, this very low threshold of expectations is supported by the only states that matter to the West Bankers – the United States, Egypt (and far less importantly, the other moderate Arab states) and of course Israel. The fanfare of appearances in Washington, then, is calculated to make up for the absence of substance.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"