Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ceren - New Palestinian Precondition Is Shameless

Omri Ceren
26 October '11

Yesterday, Seth covered the substance of the newest entry on the Palestinian list of preconditions. They’ve now added “freeing mass murderers” to their two other demands that Israel halt settlement construction and start talks from the 1967 armistice lines. Those issues used to be topics for negotiation rather than preconditions, but the Obama administration’s Smart Power forced Abbas’s hand, and so they became pretexts for rejecting talks despite Netanyahu’s readiness to engage.

Now the Palestinians have found a new poison pill, although this time – in a poignant metaphor – they freelanced rather than follow America’s lead. The imprisoned Marwan Barghouti is a remorseless mass murderer and Ahmad Sa’adat is a sociopathic killer, even if international media outlets and foreign policy magazines label the former a “dissident” and coo over the latter as a gray-haired grandfather. There’s no appetite in Israel for letting them out.

On the other hand, this is a remarkably shameless poison pill, even by the Palestinians’ usual standards. The situation before was one where Abbas was demanding, in advance, concessions that were supposed to be subjects of negotiations. The “free mass murderers” precondition is one qualitative step bolder. It’s a concession that the Palestinians were supposed to get for negotiating as such, which they’re now holding hostage to restarting talks. It was supposed to bolster the negotiations that Abbas is refusing to have.

There’s an old Chris Rock routine about men who expect sex from their divorced wives, because that’s how it used to be when they were married. This is like that, except foreign policy analysts and mainstream journalists will soon be explaining why it’s a perfectly reasonable Palestinian expectation.

Apparently, the issue stretches back three years. At the time, Olmert verbally promised Abbas that, should Gilad Shalit ever be swapped for Hamas prisoners, Israel would also release some prisoners at Fatah’s behest. The rationale was that Olmert would want to boost Fatah versus Hamas, because Fatah was Israel’s Oslo negotiating partner while Hamas was a genocidal Iranian proxy.

Unfortunately, in the meantime, Abbas and his Fatah party have ceased to be Israel’s Oslo partners (though in fairness, Hamas has indeed continued to be a genocidal Iranian proxy).

The Palestinian Authority abrogated the Oslo Accords by seeking unilateral statehood in the United Nations. Abbas’s speech at the UN was built around the premise that Israel’s very existence was fundamentally illegitimate. He has indulged in vulgar anti-Israel incitement, including a feverish rant about Zionist death pigs. A Fatah official called for ethnically cleansing Jews from the West Bank. Even if none of that was true – even if Abbas and Fatah hadn’t de facto abandoned the Oslo Accords by going unilateral and engaging in incitement – Abbas is also seeking to de jure change the agreements.

Now the Palestinians’ combination of self-righteousness, self-pity, and self-entitlement has reached self-parody. Abbas is demanding a prisoner release, which was supposed to bolster Fatah while it was negotiating with Israel, as a precondition for Fatah negotiating with Israel. Only the Palestinians would think of making that kind of demand, secure in the knowledge that their international apologists will blame Israel for refusing to humor them.

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