Negotiations will not bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

All the talks are intended to achieve is Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank, while leaving the conflict to fester.

Moshe_Arens_cropped-150x150By Moshe Arens

If you thought the agreement being hammered out by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is meant to bring to an end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, you have another thing coming. Nothing of the sort. Even if the agreement is signed and sealed the conflict will continue. Israel will continue to be slandered by the Palestinians and their supporters, who will continue to demand more territorial concessions and the “right of return.” There will be calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions, as well as acts of terror against Israel.

The negotiations with Abbas were held in secret. The public was been given the impression that an attempt was being made to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that if both sides were prepared to make difficult and painful decisions, the decades-long conflict could be ended.

But any clear-thinking person surely asked himself how this could be achieved by negotiating with Abbas, who at best can claim to represent no more than half of the Palestinians, without the participation of Hamas and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. One could only suppose that at some point a deus ex machina would be invoked that would solve this problem. Presumably, the partners to these secret negotiations — Kerry, Netanyahu, Abbas and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni — surely fully aware of the problem, had something up their sleeve, a rabbit to be pulled out of the hat at the last moment.

Now that the pressure is mounting to bring the talks to a conclusion, the cat has been let out of the bag, and by none other than U.S. President Barack Obama, at the Saban Forum in Washington two weeks ago. It turns out that the negotiations are not going to bring about an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. All they are intended to achieve is the withdrawal from Judea and Samaria of the Israel Defense Forces, while leaving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to continue to fester.

A peace deal, Obama explained, ”is going to have to happen in stages … if we can create a pathway to peace, even if initially it’s restricted to the West Bank, if there is a model where young Palestinians in Gaza are looking and seeing that in the West Bank Palestinians are able to live in dignity, with self-determination, and suddenly their economy is booming and trade is taking place … that’s something that the young people of Gaza are going to want. And the pressure that will be placed for the residents of Gaza to experience that same future is something that is going to be I think overwhelmingly appealing.”

So spake Obama. And there you have it. Of course, there is no deus ex machina. There is only the pious hope that after an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, Hamas in Gaza will begin to throw kisses rather than rockets at Israel.

This kind of reasoning sounds alarmingly familiar. When the IDF withdrew from the south Lebanon security zone in 2000, betraying its ally, the South Lebanon Army, to our everlasting shame, it was argued that Hezbollah would cease its terrorist activity against Israel and simply become another political party in Lebanon. When the IDF withdrew from the Gush Katif settlement bloc in 2005, uprooting 8000 Israelis from their homes in an unprecedented violation of the rights of Israeli citizens, it was argued that the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip would be satisfied and that peace would come to southern Israel. Now the same bait is being held before Israel’s nose again. Withdraw from Judea and Samaria, and the Palestinians in Gaza will find peace with Israel “overwhelmingly appealing.”

To erase any possibility of a misunderstanding, the foreign minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, Mahmoud Zahar, minister, announced: “Any deal inked between the Palestinian Authority and Israel would be nonbinding on the Palestinian people … the Palestinian negotiators are illegitimate and do not represent the Palestinian people.”

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