Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Ehud Olmert’s Peace Delusion

December 12, 2012 8:24 pm 0 comments

Ehud Olmert (left) with PA President Mahmoud Abbas (right) and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (center). Photo: wiki commons.

In early November, before Hamas’ recent terror campaign and the UN vote on “Palestine,” former president Ehud Olmert delivered a speech at Columbia University in New York. He argued that the failure to achieve peace with the Palestinians was the biggest threat to Israel’s security. (The Iranian threat, he said, would be taken care of by the international community).

According to Olmert, a peace agreement is in reach, and the only thing standing in the way is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Why? Because Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is the perfect partner for peace. In fact, Olmert said that if he would have served longer as prime minister, he and Abbas would have reached a deal by now. However, unfortunately for Israel, Mr. Olmert’s peace partner is an imaginary one.

To begin with, Abbas does not speak for the Palestinian people. After returning home from the United Nations, Abbas promised to create a unity government with Hamas. Why was this his top priority after achieving such a “victory” in New York? Because Abbas knows that Hamas is more popular among Palestinians and that his government won’t be legitimate without them.

Olmert’s logic then becomes a conundrum: If Abbas can’t achieve a unity government, he can’t speak on behalf of the Palestinian people. But if he does achieve a unity government, he is no partner for peace. After all, how can Abbas support peace when Hamas recently recommitted itself to Israel’s destruction?

Olmert had no answer for this in New York and presumably doesn’t have one – unless he wants Israel to negotiate with Hamas. Needless to say, negotiating with a government committed to Israel’s annihilation is sheer insanity.

Even if Hamas were to remove the reference to Israel’s destruction in its charter, it wouldn’t change a thing. It would just be a cunning ploy to encourage the international community to embrace it as a legitimate organization.

Regardless, Hamas is still unwilling to make this symbolic move, despite the enormous benefits it would reap from doing so. That is how deep its hatred runs for Israel. As former prime minister Golda Meir famously said, “peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”Sadly when it comes to Hamas, that day isn’t even in the foreseeable future. And yet this is the group that Abbas wants to join with.

Even putting the Hamas issue aside, it’s still far from clear that Abbas actually wants peace. As Olmert himself pointed out, no prime minister in Israel’s history ever offered more than Olmert offered to Abbas in 2008.Olmert’s historic proposal included a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem and the return of pre-1967 lands to a new Palestinian state. Still, Abbas walked away – just as his predecessor Yasser Arafat walked away from then-prime minister Ehud Barak’s offer in 2000, and just as every Palestinian leader has walked away from Israeli offers, no matter how generous they were.

For Palestinian leaders, nothing is ever enough. Israel gives and gives, yet the Palestinians only ask for more. Autonomy in the West Bank? More. Complete control of the Gaza Strip? More. A Palestinian state, side by side with Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital? More.

Israel has given and given. And what has it received in return aside from calls for “more?” Terror attacks and missiles targeting Israeli civilians, nonstop efforts to delegitimize Israel and cast it as a racist and terrorist state, and endless pledges for Israel’s total destruction.

It seems that the Palestinian strategy for peace is this: Force the Israelis to give up land for “peace,” then use terror attacks and international pressure to force them to give up more. Repeat until Israel is no longer recognizable or defendable. This being the case, how can Israel be expected to trust in Abbas that he doesn’t share Hamas’ view on Israel’s right to exist?

Peace must be based on more than promises. It must be based on actions. Although Abbas has helped create a functional government in the West Bank, this is no proof of a desire for peace. It is only proof of a desire for a Palestinian state.

Olmert and his ilk may have good intentions but sadly, this is their downfall. Their desire for peace has blinded them to the realities of the situation. The reason that there is no peace has been oft-repeated: There simply is no partner for it. There will never be peace until all Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist publicly, and perhaps even more important, privately.

This article was originally published by the Jerusalem Post.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    The first English-language trailer for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut — A Tale of Love and Darkness — based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir, was released on Thursday. The movie, originally filmed in Hebrew, tells the story of Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the early years of Israel’s independence. Portman, who was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, plays the lead role of Fania, the author’s mother. She struggles to raise her son as she deals with inner demons, a […]

    Read more →
  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →