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.
[Yosef: While there are any number of excellent points here, the crux of the matter is "Since he knows that no matter what concessions that Israel makes on borders or settlements, he cannot survive the aftermath of signing a peace deal" and with that, all discussion should come to an end. That it doesn't, has been the question for quite some time, but doesn't preclude our finally saying this show has run it's full course.]
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has reiterated his determination to go ahead with his attempt to try and get the United Nations to recognize an independent Palestinian state without asking it to make peace with Israel. But, as the Jerusalem Post reports, he is not averse to being bribed to back away from an effort that he knows is doomed to failure with more Israeli concessions. Abbas said yesterday that he would give up on the UN effort in exchange for Israel halting all settlement building and agreeing on the 1967 lines as the basis for future negotiations. But he also added that he would never agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
What exactly Israel would then negotiate is unclear since it would have effectively given up all its cards prior to the talks. Nor is there any reason for Israel to make unilateral concessions if in the end the Palestinians are still unwilling to end the conflict, as would be the case if they recognized the legitimacy of a Jewish state. But, as has been apparent since 2008, Abbas’s goal is not negotiations but the avoidance of them.
Ever since the Palestinian Authority rejected Israel’s offer of an independent state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and part of Jerusalem back in 2008, its leader Mahmoud Abbas has been doing all he could to avoid being put in a similar situation. Since he knows that no matter what concessions that Israel makes on borders or settlements, he cannot survive the aftermath of signing a peace deal, Abbas must continue to dodge negotiations despite the desperate efforts of the Obama administration and the European Union to get him to come back to the table. That is the rationale for the PA’s UN adventure.
This UN gambit is doomed to failure since the General Assembly cannot create a state by itself anymore that it can transform Palestinian political life. Under the current circumstances where Gaza is ruled by the Hamas terrorist movement and the West Bank is kept under the thumb of the PA only by virtue of the protection of the Israeli army, a viable independent Palestinian state is more of a theoretical notion than anything else. And despite the predictions of a “diplomatic tsunami” that would swamp Israel, it is Abbas who has more to fear from the fallout of this confrontation since it is he, and not Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who stands to lose the most if the defeat of his measure results in more Palestinian violence.
Abbas’s notice of his willingness to be tempted to stay away from the UN is, like the entire project, merely a deception. The only purpose of the exercise is to heighten Israel’s isolation and increase pressure on Jerusalem, not to get closer to a resolution of the dispute. More talk of settlements and borders are a distraction from the core issue of whether the Palestinians can live with a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. Abbas says he wants a Jew-free Palestinian state next to an Israel where the “return” of the descendants of Arab refugees would transform a Jewish state to a bi-national or Arab one. That is a prescription for future war not peace.
So long as Abbas isn’t willing to talk about a Jewish state living in peace alongside a Palestinian state we will know that he is merely continuing his bluff and not speaking in good faith. Were he ever to do so, he would find that as they did in 2000, 2001 and 2008, the Israelis are willing to make peace on terms that would give him his state. There is no reason for Israel to give in on borders, territory, Jerusalem or anything else until Abbas or his successors change their tune.
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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!"