Monday, February 20, 2012

Hatred versus Occupation

Yonatan Silverman

The most rudimentary analysis of the Palestinian Authority's position on Israel leads to only one conclusion -- the most influential element in the Palestinian Authority attitude toward Israel and to the Jewish people is blind hatred. Hatred mobilizes the Palestinians to close the door to peace and to coexistence with Israel.

It was different under the 1993 Oslo Accords. The Oslo Accords came about in response to mutual understanding of political realities and political aspirations, and they put hatred aside. But the Palestinians have betrayed Oslo. Not recognizing Israel as the Jewish state is only the place where the problem and its manifestations begin. Palestinian media is flooded with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement.

Just last month, the Palestinian Grand Mufti, a PA appointee, declared on Palestinian TV that Islam's goal is to kill Jews. Israel's state prosecutor is investigating him now.

The PA also routinely names public squares and other streets after killed terrorists, which is nothing but a brazen affront to the terror victims and their families. But for the Palestinians, the dead terrorists are heroes, martyrs. This emanates only from hatred.

Palestinian hatred for Jews also takes the form of naked racism. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has stated that no Israelis will be permitted to live in an independent Palestinian state. And yet, Israel's harshest critics call Israel an Apartheid state. But Apartheid-like hatred for Jews is what exists at the heart of the Palestinian mindset with respect to Israel and the Jewish people.

The Palestinians also adamantly refuse to climb down from the demand for the return of the descendants of the 1948 refugees. There are millions of them today living in refugee camps throughout the Arab world. Their return to homes in Israel that no longer exist would undermine Israeli society in the most devastating way. But Palestinian hatred for Israel motivates this desire, too.

The latest and most vicious manifestation of Palestinian hatred for Israel is the Palestinians' effort to achieve statehood status in the U.N. The U.S. has already stated that it will veto the Palestinian move in the UNSC. So they have no chance of becoming a U.N. member-state. The Palestinians also surely knew this before they started their farcical efforts in the U.N. But they have doggedly pursued the matter because it would get the U.N. to stab Israel in the back diplomatically.

Even if all the states in the General Assembly vote to make Palestine a state, it is just smoke and mirrors. The Palestinians will not create a state on the ground in this way. The only state they will get is a state of mind, an imaginary construct inside the walls of the U.N. Antagonizing Israel, however, is what they have chosen to do, because they hate Israel and want to eliminate it.

Unfortunately, not the world at large, nor the U.N., nor even Israel's closest ally, the U.S., condemns Palestinian hatred for Israel and Jews. Instead, everyone focuses on condemning Israeli occupation of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) as the source of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

But the occupation isn't the source of the problem. Even if Israel

withdrew from 100 percent of the West Bank tomorrow, it would not begin

to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict because Palestinian hatred for Israel and for Jews stands in the way. The hatred the Palestinians feel for Jews and Israel is the rod in the spokes of negotiable coexistence and peace.

The 1993 Oslo Accords were originally a solution to occupation. Initially, Israel withdrew from Jericho and Gaza. The "Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip" (also called Oslo 2), signed on 28 September 1995, gave Palestinians self-rule in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Tulkarm, and some 450 villages.

The Second Intifada, a Palestinian explosion of anti-Jewish hatred and murder between 2000-2004, blasted a big hole in the Oslo Accords. The terrorists and suicide bombers ran riot. But in Operation Defensive Shield, in 2002, the IDF re-entered all the Palestinian controlled cities of the West Bank for the purpose of capturing and killing terrorists. This should have killed the Oslo Accords but it didn't. The Palestinian Authority remained intact.

All of Israel's prime ministers since the Second Intifada have held negotiations with the Palestinian Authority -- Sharon, Olmert, also Netanyahu.

In his famous speech at Bar Ilan University in June 2009, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed for the first time in his political career to the establishment of a Palestinian state. He made two conditions: that the Palestinian state be demilitarized and that the Palestinian state formally recognize that Israel is the state of the Jewish People.

But no sooner had he made this generous historic offer than the Palestinians pulled their Helen Keller routine -- that is, deaf, dumb, and blind to the whole idea.

"Netanyahu's speech closed the door to permanent status negotiations," senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said. "We ask the world not to be fooled by his use of the term 'Palestinian state' because he qualified it. He declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel, said refugees would not be negotiated and that settlements would remain."

The Palestinians then went the extra mile and terminated negotiations altogether.

Toward the end of 2009, the Palestinian Authority announced "[a] plan to seek unilateral statehood through a UN Security Council vote. Palestinian leaders say the US and Israel leave them with no other option."

The U.N. statehood gambit emanates from nothing but brazen malice -- and, of course, hatred for Israel, without which the Palestinians would have no incentive to make an impossible leap for statehood in the U.N.

Hamas-Fatah unity is the latest development illustrating that the Palestinians place their priority on hatred over ending the so-called occupation. Abbas and Meshal negotiated a reconciliation agreement in Doha, and Abbas insists that there is no contradiction between this agreement and the peace process -- but this also is brazen, malicious deceit. The Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement not only contradicts the peace process, but it stabs that process in the back. Prime Minister Netanyahu has already stated that a Fatah/Hamas unity agreement means that the diplomatic process is dead. Abbas can make peace with Israel or with Hamas, but not with both.

No democratic country has ever conceded anything to anyone when faced with a campaign of hatred. Under Oslo, Israel proved that it was willing and able to negotiate the disposition of the West Bank and turn over control there to the Palestinian Authority. Israel negotiated with the Palestinian Authority in good faith and followed through on the ground with withdrawals from West Bank territories. What did the Palestinians do? They launched the Second Intifada, in which a thousand innocent Israeli civilians were murdered. They stopped bilateral negotiations to seek nonexistent U.N. statehood at Israel's expense. The PA has now joined forces with Hamas, an enemy sworn to Israel's elimination.

There is no comparison between hatred and occupation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In the Palestinian camp, hatred takes priority at every turn and totally undermines any chance for bilateral negotiations. "Occupation," on the other hand, is a bag of wind. The overinflated problem that occupation represents can be brought down to negotiable proportions if there is goodwill on both sides. But there isn't one drop of goodwill on the Palestinian side.

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