Why would the Palestinian leader make genuine peace with the Jews when the PA’s aspirations remain what they have always been, namely, the destruction of the Jewish state?
By: Daniel Krygier
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly told the Fatah Revolutionary Council in Ramallah recently that he does not intend to end his life as a “traitor” by signing any agreement with the Jewish state that does not live up to Palestinian aspirations and demands. This was clearly a reference to the Trump administration’s peace plan, which is expected to be unveiled in the near future.
Briefly, Abbas’s statement illustrates why the Arab-Israeli conflict is perhaps the world’s most intractable conflict. In theory, it is easy to solve, but in reality virtually impossible under current circumstances. The reason is quite simple: Arab leaders like Mahmoud Abbas have incited their populations for decades against the very existence of Israel within any borders. Why would the Palestinian leader make genuine peace with the Jews when the PLO’s aspirations remain what they have always been, namely, the destruction of the Jewish state?
Many liberals in Israel and abroad have for years dismissed the PA’s hateful propaganda against Jews and Israel as “meaningless statements for internal consumption.” Self-appointed liberals also believe that, magically, peace can be achieved by Israeli concessions alone. This self-delusion is rooted in desperation and the refusal to recognize the vast cultural and mental gulf separating the Middle East from Western democracies. Abbas is at the same time instigator as well as a hostage of a culture of hatred against the Jewish state that does not leave any room for compromise.
The difference between Abbas and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, is more in style than in content. Abbas has carefully cultivated an image of “moderation” in the international arena by claiming that he seeks the establishment of an Arab state along the 1967 ceasefire lines, with “East Jerusalem” as its capital. However, Abbas has himself admitted that he rejected the peace offer from former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. This offer from 2008 gave Abbas everything the Palestinians say they want – in English: a state next to Israel with a capital in “East Jerusalem.” The problem is that nothing short of Israel’s destruction will satisfy Abbas’ despotic regime in Ramallah.
In 1979, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to sign a peace agreement with Israel. Nearly 40 years later, the peace remains cold, and hatred against Israel and Jews is endemic in Egyptian society. From the point of view of the “Arab Street,” Sadat was a “traitor” for signing a peace deal with the Jews. The price for treason in the Arab world is usually death, and Sadat paid with his life for the Camp David peace agreement with the Jewish state.
Abbas is in no hurry to end his luxurious and internationally funded lifestyle for a signed paper with the Jews that would endanger his own life. As long as it is considered “treason” in Ramallah, Gaza and elsewhere to make peace with the Jewish state, the Arab-Israeli conflict will continue, and Israeli concessions will only make it worse.