Monday, November 09, 2009

End of the Peace Process In Sight

Once again, we've got doom and gloom prognostications about the peace process, despite the fact that the Palestinians want nothing to do with peace with Israel, and would much rather have peace without Israel. Mahmoud Abbas is busy trying to get Israel and the US to grovel with concessions to get Abbas to stick around as PA President, despite the fact that Abbas has done nothing himself to advance the cause of peace during his tenure in office.

Abbas heads Fatah, which remains dedicated to Israel's destruction. His followers have little interest in making peace with Israel, and they're the moderates in comparison to Hamas, which seeks Israel's destruction from their base in Gaza. The Palestinians don't have a unified voice, thanks to a de facto civil war that left Fatah exerting civil administrative control over the West Bank, while Hamas has full control of Gaza after Israel fully withdrew in 2005 only to watch Hamas throw Fatah out and start a rocket war that culminated in Operation Cast Lead.

Tom Friedman is right that the US should let the Obama Administration's efforts at a peace process wither and focus on other more important matters. Until the Palestinians actually get serious about making peace - and want to be a genuine partner in peace, no amount of cajoling from the US will help. There's no reason for President Obama to waste precious political capital on the Palestinians when they've shown themselves wholly incapable of putting together a counterproposal to any of Israel's peace proposals.

Forcing Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians is a nonstarter; all one has to do is point out that Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, and the Palestinians responded by turning it into an armed camp for firing thousands of rockets at Israel.

Until Israel has a ready and willing partner in the Palestinians, the situation isn't going to change; the Palestinians have to truly find out how painful it is to continue down this path in order to make real progress. Efforts to extract concessions from Israel only show that the Palestinians can wait out any diplomatic efforts and not have to make any concessions on their side.

Abbas can stay or he can go, but until the Palestinian outlook towards Israel changes, nothing the Americans do will advance the cause of peace on that front.

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