Showing his true colors, 78-year-old Palestine Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas rejected the current round of U.S.-sponsored peace talks with Israel unless he gets East Jerusalem as the capital of a new Palestinian State. Secretary of State John Kerry has made 10 trips to the Mideast since July 2013 chasing the Holy Grail of a Mideast peace, something that’s eluded every U.S. president Since Dwight D. Eisenhower. Controlling only parts of the West Bank from the city of Ramallah, Abbas lost the Gaza Strip June 14, 2007 to his Palestinian rival Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the U.S. State Dept. Talking tough in a speech in Ramallah, Abbas said Palestinians “won’t kneel” to Israel, demanding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forfeit East Jerusalem in a final status agreement. “There will be no peace,” said Abbas unless he gets East Jerusalem.
Speaking to a crowd of about 150 in Ramallah, Abbas, AKA Abu Mazen, told a cheering group that he won’t settle for any peace deal that doesn’t include East Jerusalem. “I say, listen, listen, the Palestinian people won’t kneel, and we tell the world, listen, listen, the Palestinian people won’t kneel,” Abbas told a crowd chanting, “Abu Mazen, Abu Mazen.” Talking tough hasn’t won Palestinians any concessions back to former President Bill Clinton’s last-ditch attempts at Mideast peacemaking back in 2000. Israelis haven’t forgotten the rocket fire and waves of suicide bombings, largely from Hamas, that followed the last peacemaking breakdown. As then, today’s issues remain the same, including Palestinian demands for East Jerusalem, refugees right of return and return to the pre-1967 Six-Day-War geography, all non-starters in today’s post Sept. 11, terrorist-infested world.
Since 1972 U.N. Resolution 242 that offers Israel peace for a return to the pre-1967 Six-Day-War borders, Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1979 in the former President Jimmy Carter’s Camp David Accords, winning Egyptian President Anwar Sedat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin Nobel Peace Prizes. While Sedat lost his life to an assassin’s bullet in 1981, Israel got a peace treaty with Egypt but not peace. “Without East Jerusalem as a capital of a state of Palestinien, there will be now peace between us and Israel,” said Abbas, sounding more like Hamas’ 52-year-old Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh, than a U.S. peace partner. Kerry walks a razor’s edge with his chief negotiator Martin Indyk, expecting Netanyahu to swap more land for peace. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon went to his grave January 11 after returning the Gaza Strip to Palestinians Aug. 15, 2005.
Past Mideast peace negotiations before Sept. 11 pressured Israel into returning to the pre-1967 borders in exchange for peace. Every time Israel gave back land, they received no peace, other than more demands to forfeit more land captured in the 1967 Six-Day-War. Now Abbas flashed his hand in advance of final status talks, showing just how far the two sides are from any peace deal. Kerry knows that GOP members of the U.S. Congress won’t back any peace deal compromising Israel’s national security. If Israel were to give back the strategic Jordan Valley between the the West Bank and Jordan, it would leave itself vulnerable to terrorist infiltration. Abbas refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish State or Jewish homeland precisely because he believes one day Palestinians will return to the original British Mandate handed to Israel in 1948 by British government.
Living in the most sordid conditions in Gaza, the West Bank or refuge camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, Palestinians have been sold a bill of goods by their leaders since 1948. When the late Yasser Arafat founded the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964, he convinced Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser to wage war against Israel in 1967. When the dust settled June 10, 1967, Egypt had lost the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip, Jordan the West Bank and Syria the Golan Heights. Palestinians claim all of Israel’s 1967 spoils as their state but, truth be told, they seek the original 1948 British Mandate as well. Refusing to accept the new post-Sept. 11 reality, the U.S. can no longer back any Mideast peace deal that compromises Israel’s national security. Going back to the original pre-1967 War borders would open Israel to terrorist infiltration, attacks and ongoing conflict.
Abbas’ tough talk should alert Kerry and the State Dept. that no matter how much the U.S. seeks peace, it can’t compromise Israel’s national security. Gone are the old days when the U.S. would threaten pulling Israel’s foreign aid unless it made concessions to Palestinians. Handing over East Jerusalem to the PLO would invite terror attacks in Israel’s backyard. “We will not recognize it,” said Abbas, referring to Netanyahu’s demand that Israel be recognized as a Jewish State or homeland. After the Nazi’s WW II Holocaust killing 6-million Jews, the British government gave the British Mandate to Israel precisely to create a Jewish homeland. “We will not accept and it’s our right not to recognize the Jewish State for the sake of 2-million Palestinians that continue to live in Israel. While hope springs eternal, Abbas flashed his true cards, scuttling prospects of any peace deal.
About the Author
John M. Curtis writes politically neutral commentary analyzing spin in national and global news. .He’s editor of OnlineColumnist.com and author of Dodging The Bullet and Operation Charisma.