Monday, November 27, 2006

The Next Step

The test of any peace plan is whether you have a willing partner for peace and common ground. This situation has none of that. One side, the Palestinian terror groups, is completely and utterly dedicated to the destruction of the other, the Israelis who refuse to be destroyed but whose leaders continue to offer fig leaves hoping that someone among the Palestinians will have an ounce of intelligence and make peace.

The jihadis sense weakness in the Israeli leaders, so are pressing their advantage. They wont agree to a ceasefire unless and until Israeli withdraws the IDF from the West Bank. That would be a neat trick since the West Bank includes Jerusalem and hundreds of Israeli settlements. This is a threat and demand that the jihadis know that Israel simply will not agree to. It's one that makes Israel look like the bad guy, despite the fact it is the Palestinian terrorists who are the ones firing rockets into Israel despite a ceasefire supposedly being in place.

So what does Israel do? Prime Minister offers the promise of yet more concessions in exchange for a fleeting glimpse of peace. The conditions are as follows:
''We, the state of Israel, will agree to the evacuation of many territories and the settlements that we built there. This is extremely difficult for us, like the splitting of the Red Sea. We will do it for real peace,'' he said.

He said that if the Palestinians establish a new government committed to carrying out the U.S.-backed ''road map'' peace plan and securing the release of a captured Israeli soldier, then he would call for an immediate meeting with Abbas ''to have a real, open, honest, serious dialogue between us.''

Olmert said that Israel planned to release ''many Palestinian prisoners,'' including those serving long sentences, as a trust-building measure after Palestinian militants freed the captured soldier alive and healthy.

Israel would also ease the checkpoints across the West Bank, improve border terminals in Gaza, release the frozen money to the Palestinians and help develop a plan to rehabilitate their crippled economy, he said.

In exchange, Olmert said Palestinians would have to renounce violence, recognize Israel's right to live in peace and security and give up their demands to allow refugees from the 1948 Mideast War to return to their homes in what is now Israel.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Palestinians were ready to negotiate a final peace deal.
I'm all for peace, but there's no way that Hamas would ever accept these terms. The Palestinians wont even respect the truce in Gaza because they're linking operations in the West Bank to the Gaza ceasefire. Hamas doesn't even believe in the initial step of negotiating with Israel and it calls for the destruction of Israel. The Palestinians have refused to give up terrorism and continued violence. They wont even take the symbolic step of removing the calls for destroying Israel enshrined in the PLO Charter and the Hamas Charter.

That they wouldn't take up that symbolic step shows the level of animosity that is cultivated by the Palestinian leadership. They've invented and exaggerated incidents to further inflame the Palestinians. The Palestinian terror groups recruit teenagers to act as cannon fodder and when that isn't shocking enough, they recruit senior citizens to go blow themselves up.

This is who Olmert thinks is a partner in peace? Abbas is not in control of the PA and cannot control what the other terrorist groups do, let alone the more violent factions within his own Fatah group. Abbas might have gotten the supposed truce deal in Gaza, but it was violated from the outset by the terrorists who will find any and every excuse to continue the violence against Israel.

Another dealbreaker is the whole concept of the Palestinians giving up the right of return. That's what broke the deal in 2000 when Barak gave Arafat a deal of +90% of the territories in Gaza and West Bank, and it will be a dealbreaker again. Palestinians think that the right of return is somehow part of their birthright, even though millions were never actually born in the territories now within Israel's pre-67 borders. The neighboring Arab states refused to assimilate the people who were displaced by the wars in 1948 and 1967 - and have kept them in refugee camps stoking the hatred.

There are a few things that stop the terrorism, and it has nothing to do with the terrorist groups themselves. It's the security fence that Israel has established to keep the terrorists from infiltrating Israeli territory. The fence is so effective that the terrorists have had to resort to rocket attacks in hopes of killing and maiming Israelis.

Right wingers in the Israeli Knesset slammed the Olmert proposal, and that was echoed by the fact that yet more rockets were fired at Sderot.

Carl in Jerusalem is on the same wavelength and goes into some detail on the massive impediments to any kind of deal on these terms. He specifically notes that the prisoner release Olmert referred to would necessarily include terrorists with Israeli blood on their hands. That's a disaster waiting to happen since there's absolutely no reason to believe that once these prisoners are released that they wouldn't simply return to their former profession of murdering Jews.

I would challenge anyone who has ever engaged in negotiations of any kind to provide what outcome was possible when the two sides do not have a single common interest. There is no common ground between Israelis and Palestinians because the Palestinians refused to accept the existence of a state of Israel. For the Palestinians, peace means the absence of Israel and a single Palestinian state. For the Israelis, peace means the absence of fighting. The two cannot be reconciled and the Palestinian leaders have refused to make even the slightest attempts at moving the Palestinian people towards an acceptance of a two-state solution. The refusal to take steps outlined by Oslo shows this - Oslo required the PLO and PA to revise its charter to eliminate the provisions calling for Israel's destruction, and it has never done so.

Blue Crab Boulevard notes that this latest move the Palestinian terrorists is tantamount to cease.Fire!. Hot Air and Boker Tov Boulder also comment on today's events.

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