Palestinian Intransigence

A guest post by AKUS

Five rivers converged in Middle Eastern affairs this week – the Jordan, the Hudson, the Nile, the Thames, and the Potomac.

Those who live alongside the Jordan – Israel and the West Bank Arabs – each sought support in the Security Council in the UN alongside the Hudson for their opposing views on the Palestinian Authority’s resolution calling on the Security Council to condemn Israel for continuing to build settlements on the Jordan’s West Bank. Never mind that not a single new settlement has been built, to my knowledge, in something like eighteen to twenty-four months, and that Israel also obeyed the USA’s demand to stop building apartments for nine months in a futile attempt to entice Mohammad Abbas and the disgraced Saeb Erekat back to the negotiating table. The USA vetoed the one-sided resolution – the first veto since George W. Bush’s administration vetoed a resolution in 2006.

The Palestinian Authority scored the remarkable own goal of forcing the friendly Obama administration to distance itself from its demands.

While events along the Nile preoccupied the real world, in the UN’s alternative universe alongside the Hudson the count of Israeli apartments continued. Never mind that scores are reported dead in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain – the issue that concerns the world’s great powers is the building of apartments in East Jerusalem.

Alongside the Thames, the Guardian carried a report, US vetoes UN condemnation of Israeli settlements, that managed, as usual, to combine biased language with misrepresentation of the facts:

The US stood alone among the 15 members of the security council in failing to condemn the resumption of settlement building that has caused a serious rift between the Israeli government and the Palestinian authority and derailed attempts to kick-start the peace process.

The US “failed to condemn” – unlike, for example, Britain, which bravely succeeded in condemning Israel due to its sophisticated concern for Israel’s security:

William Hague said he understood Israeli concern for security, but said that was precisely why Britain had backed the resolution.

The “resumption of settlement building” of course refers to the resumption of building some apartments and community facilities in existing suburbs of Jerusalem. The Guardian is of the opinion that “the serious rift” between the Israeli Government and the PA has nothing to do with terrorism, the refusal to negotiate under any circumstances, the impossible demands made by the PA – it is all about apartment building.

The real attempt to “kick-start” the peace process was, of course, Israel’s agreement to test the PA’s seriousness by stopping all building activity for nine months. The Guardian makes no mention of this – it has already been brushed out of the Guardian’s view of Middle East history and the fact – the fact! – that the Palestinian Authority refused to negotiate even when Israel agreed even to suspend building any apartments, not just settlements, has been erased, just as Stalin used to erase faces from photographs and facts from books to create his own history.

The Guardian cited a representative of the PA who wasted no time in using the current term “intransigence” applied to Israel in their talking points, just as the word “disproportionate” is used to describe any Israel response to terrorist attack:

The Palestinian observer at the UN, Riyad Mansour, said the veto was unfortunate. “We fear … that the message sent today may be one that only encourages further Israeli intransigence and impunity,” he said.

Fortunately, where it counts a lot more and reality appears to be in vogue, alongside the Potomac the Washington Post had scathing comments for Abbas and his team and their real intransigence in an editorial – Abbas proves he prefers posturing to a peace process.

PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas claims to be interested in negotiating a two-state peace settlement with Israel. For two years he has enjoyed the support of a U.S. president more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than most, if not all, of his predecessors. Yet Mr. Abbas has mostly refused to participate in the direct peace talks that Barack Obama made one of his top foreign policy priorities – and now he has shown himself to be bent on embarrassing and antagonizing the U.S. administration….

The Obama administration has all along insisted that Mr. Abbas is willing and able to make peace with Israel – despite considerable evidence to the contrary. If the U.N. resolution veto has one good effect, perhaps it will be to prompt a reevaluation of a leader who has repeatedly proved both weak and intransigent. (My emphasis).

The Guardian should follow the Washington Post’s lead and take a closer look at who is intransigent. If its pandering has any effect at all, and if it really had the Palestinian’s interests at heart, it would learn to lay the blame where it should rather than encouraging the PA to believe that they are moving forward by embarrassing the first US administration in a decade that has shown any support for them.

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