Opinion: Palestinians will stymie peace

August 6, 2013


Egypt is in turmoil again. Syria is embroiled in civil war. Iran continues building a nuclear device. Militants in Iraq have killed more than 4,000 people so far this year, more than 800 of them in July alone, according to the aptly named Iraq Body Count (www.iraqbodycount.org).

And what is Secretary of State John Kerry’s focus? It is the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Again facing U.S. pressure, Israel has agreed to renewed peace talks. It rejected demands from the Palestinian side for withdrawal from “occupied” lands and the freezing of new “settlements” as preconditions, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did agree to release 104 Palestinian prisoners, most of them convicted of murdering Israeli civilians in terrorist acts, “in stages” and “in accordance with the circumstances of their progress” in the peace negotiations.

Let me assume the role of an Old Testament prophet and declare: There will be no progress, because the Palestinian side will accept nothing less than the complete annihilation of Israel and the removal of every Jew from what they regard as their land.

Let’s put it in a way most people would understand. If you find a serial killer has broken into your home, would you negotiate with him, or would you defend yourself with your registered gun?

In announcing Israel’s participation in negotiations, Netanyahu issued “an open letter to Israeli citizens.” In it, he called those he would release from prison “depraved people.” They are not likely to become less depraved after their release. Like most terrorists, there is a high probability they will rejoin the battle to obliterate Israel.

The prime minister also said: “In the next nine months, we will consider whether there is a Palestinian element opposite us that, like us, truly wants to end the conflict between us.” Save your breath. There isn’t, because the Palestinian definition of ending the conflict is simple: They win.

As for the promise that prisoners will be released should negotiations progress, let’s see how that has worked in the past.

Middle East expert Daniel Pipes has listed some of them: In 1985, Israel exchanged 1,150 prisoners for three captured Israelis. In 2000, Israel exchanged 450 Arab prisoners for three Israeli bodies and one live hostage. In 2008, five Arab prisoners, including, writes Pipes, “the psychopath Samir al-Kuntar” and 199 Arab bodies were swapped for two Israeli bodies. And in 2011, 1,027 Palestinian prisoners were given up for one man, Gilad Schalit.

In none of these exchanges was the so-called “peace process” advanced. The Palestinians, seemingly, get what they want by not conceding anything. Nor are they forced to live up to their promises and agreements. Israel does all the conceding and gets nothing in return, except more terror and new threats of war.

In 2010, a poll sponsored by The Israeli Project, a Jewish-American organization, found most Palestinians refuse to accept the idea of Israel as a Jewish state and that while some accept the concept of two states, they regard it as a first step toward one state ruled by Palestinians.

In the face of so much evidence that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not be ended by more Israeli concessions and prisoner releases, why is Secretary of State Kerry continuing to pursue what hasn’t worked and can’t work, given the ideological and religious motivations of the Palestinian side?

Maybe it’s because this administration has no foreign policy and pressuring Israel is as close as it can get to one. Meanwhile, the rest of the Middle East burns.

— Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.


Abdu Omar 4 years, 10 months ago

Oh, Cal, tell the real story for once without your fantasies.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 10 months ago

The first European settlers came to what would become Lawrence in 1854, or 159 years ago. Previous to that, the land belonged to Native tribes. Presumably, cynic, these people were committing an act of terror. However, at some point in time, the residents of Lawrence achieved a sense of legitimacy, citizens if you will, with the right to purchase land, live in peace, etc.

I guess I'd like to ask you, cynic, when did that legitimacy happen? When did the statute of limitations run out? Perhaps Israel could use your answer as a guide, so they will know how long they need to hold the land until they are granted the same legitimacy you and I enjoy. It's been 46 years since Israel seized the West Bank when Jordan waged war and then subsequently relinquished claim to that land. If it were Lawrence, it would be the year 1900. Had the citizens of Lawrence achieved that legitimacy yet, or was it still to come, in the year ... what?

Abdu Omar 4 years, 10 months ago

Two wrongs don't make a right, Jhawkins! What is right is to come to a peace accord allowing all parties to be secure and have enough for their people. But Israel keeps importing people and they all want more and more land. There isn't enough and if Israel takes it all, the indigenous people will live in an apartheid state. Even though they will outnumber the Jews, the Arabs (both Christian and Muslims) will live in a hell hole, just like South Africa. Second class citizenship isn't a pretty picture.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 10 months ago

No, two wrongs don't make a right. Then again, there seems to be a tendency to demand of other people precisely what you refuse to do yourself. That's too easy and way too hypocritical. Maybe the settlers should be removed, even under the threat of force, right after the settlers in Lawrence are removed, using that same threat of force.

I agree with you that a just peace is what is best for all concerned. I have my ideas on the subject as I'm sure you do as well. But those people have to live there, you and I don't. Whatever peace they agree to is fine with me.

Sure, Israel imports people, as does the U.S. The problem for you is that you fail to see that Israel has become a sanctuary for Jews who have been discriminated against. If the choice is to stay or go to that sanctuary, you would rather they stay where they are and be discriminated against. Remember, much of the immigration into Israel has come from Arab countries where they were discriminated against. Look at the numbers if you don't believe me. Look at the numbers of Jews in Egypt in 1945 and compare that with now. Look at the numbers of Jews in Syria, Iraq, Iran in 1945 and compare those numbers to now. There has been massive drops in the Jewish populations. People don't move like that when they are happy and being treated well. They move when they are troubled, when threatened, when discriminated against. Israel wasn't created in a vacuum. It came about as a recognition that the world was incapable of protecting this small group, so that protection fell upon themselves. As much as you would like to believe it was Europe's problem in not protecting the Jews, it was a problem throughout the Arab world as well.

The peace process is just that, a process. It has been set back many times over the years. The greatest obstacle in my opinion was the infamous three no(s). If the Arab states wanted peace in 1967, it was there for the taking. they could have had all lands returned in exchange for normal relations. But they refused. So confused were the Israelis, that these countries who waged war and were so thoroughly defeated, yet they pretended they had won, and made demands that victors usually made. After some time, it became clear to Israel there would be no one to make peace with, so a policy of settlements was begun. That, whether you agree with it or not, is a bell that cannot be un-rung. Those settlements can no more be removed that the 20% of Israel that is Palestinian can be removed. A new reality exists on the ground. And a new reality will exist in 10 years and again in 20. Maybe it will be apartheid, maybe not. But whatever reality that existed in 1945 or 1967 can't be replicated today. Hopefully, both sides can make the best peace possible today given the reality that exists today. That will take difficult decisions. We'll see if the leaders there can do that.

Abdu Omar 4 years, 10 months ago

The problem is that most Americans believe the Palestinians are the serial killers. That is the fallicy of this whole Israel thing. The Pals are defending themselves with rocks and you have to have a great arm to make it count!

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