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Three More No's to Peace

Three More No's to Peace

No negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and no end to the armed struggle against Israel.


Echoing the Arab rejection of peace with Israel expressed at Khartoum almost exactly 42 years ago ("no peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel"), the Palestinians declared at the Fatah conference in Bethlehem in August 2009 three no's: no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and no end to the armed struggle against Israel.

The delegates to the conference, the first Fatah has convened in two decades, were competing among themselves to see whose position toward Israel would be more radical. Though deeply divided over who will control the movement, the Palestinians were united in their obduracy toward Israel.

In fact, in addition to the three no's to peace, the Palestinians had more than a dozen other demands, including Israeli acceptance of the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees, the release of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, the freezing of all settlement construction and the lifting of the Gaza blockade. They also vowed to continue the struggle against Israel "until Jerusalem returns to the Palestinians void of settlers and settlements." These recalcitrant positions come after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's previous statements that he will not negotiate with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and expects President Obama to bring about Netanyahu's downfall.

Fatah officials also discussed the possibility of forming a strategic alliance with Iran, the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism, which opposes the peace process and has threatened to destroy Israel. Fatah's Jerusalem Affairs Liaison, Hatim Abdul Qader, said that in light of the stalled peace process, Fatah had no choice but to seek help from Iran and, last month, Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Saeb Erekat, met with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in Egypt. Paradoxically, Iran has funded Fatah's opponents, Hamas, which prevented Palestinians in Gaza from participating in the conference.

The Fatah conference demonstrated once again that the range of Palestinian opinion is not from radicals opposing peace with Israel to moderates who favor a negotiated settlement, but from radical to even more radical opponents of an end to the conflict. Sadly, the desire of the Palestinian people to coexist with their Israeli neighbors has once again been sublimated to the irredentist ideology of their fanatical leaders leaving Israel with no partner for negotiations. Roughly half of the population is under the thumb of Hamas, which is at war with Fatah. Meanwhile, Fatah is at war with itself and divided into at least three factions. And none of the men (and they are all men) who claim to represent the people are interested in peace with Israel.

The Palestinian position, combined with that of the king of Saudi Arabia and other Arab leaders who rejected President Obama's pleas to take steps toward normalizing relations with Israel, has driven a stake through the heart of the administration's entire Middle East strategy. The administration approach was built on the premise that publicly pressuring Israel would win support from the Arab states, who would then take steps to normalize ties with Israel, which would lead to a peace agreement, which, in turn would result in Arab cooperation on the Iranian nuclear issue and make all of the other problems in the region melt away.

The question now is whether the administration can recalibrate its policy to the reality that negotiating with Abbas is a dead end and that pressuring Israel alienated the Israelis while emboldening the Arabs to believe he would force Israel to capitulate to their demands without them having to do anything in return.

August 16, 2009

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 10

(10) MR.GOLD, August 19, 2009 2:11 AM



(9) Øystein Hansen, August 17, 2009 1:13 PM

Obama has no credibility.

Great article! Yes, president Obamas Middle East policy is a mess and a complete failure. And worse - I think it could be difficult for the US to rebuild its credibility. The Arabs want it all Maybe this Fatah conference could have one relatively positive outcome: Maybe it could make more people understand that Fatah is rather similar to Hamas when it comes to being anti-Israel and anti-Jews. But I doubt it, because for instance here in Norway they want to talk to Hamas too, and continue to pour money in their way. I think Netanyahu is good for Israel now. So let us hope for a change in US policy and a more realistic approach to the conflict. Israel has been pushed enough - and too much!

(8) Yehoshua, August 17, 2009 8:05 AM

Thank you Hashem!

Once again OUR leaders are willing to make deep concessions (recognizing a phlistine-amalek State, giving parts of Yehudah & Shomron a la Gush Katif, giving the arab terrorists $ and arms etc) andonce again we have to thank our extremist muslim cousins for being so honest and open in their true intentions of wiping us off the face of the earth! If we only had eyes to see and ears to hear and a mind to understand that they really BELIEVE in their right of this land, then MAYBE we (read our secular leaders of the right and the left) will realize that only by BEING JEWISH in the fullest sense of the term can we refute their lies and false propaganda.

(7) Rosen, August 17, 2009 3:08 AM

the heart of the conflict

Seems to me that the heart of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is really the Palestinian leadership constantly saying "no". So, I'm saddened when the MSM and certain advocacy groups tie the heart of the conflict to the "occupation" that doesn't really exist. On the whole Israel has compromised a lot more than the Palestinians, yet there's still conflict. And it seems like chances are if there is a Palestinian state, it would hardly change a thing since it appears that such Islamic fundamentalists are obsessed with (baseless) revenge against the west and world domination (not necessarily all Muslims, of course).

(6) Anonymous, August 17, 2009 1:47 AM

with Iran as a sponser and a sympathetic oresident in the white house and world opinion favorable to their casue why should they give up on their demands for a one state solution

In the Arab world giving up on the aright of return and Jerusalem is not a realistic option. That does not mean it has to happen quickly. If it takes a few more generations that is better than giving up the struggle and living with shame. In the meantime it seems to me that Jews in Israel and elsewhere need to realize this reality, It is my hope that Jews will act in a way that brings about the redemption at which time our sages state that the righteous of the world will embrace a Jewish State as a blessing for all mankind. Until that time may Gods blessings continue to keep Israel stong

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