The Peril of Precedent, Israel and the ‘Peace’ Talks
A day after low level ‘peace talks’ – with even lower expectations – collapsed; Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu engaged the Arab world through his official Facebook page. Responding to questions from the Palestinian Authority linked Ma’an News Agency, he declared that he was ready to “go to Ramallah” for talks with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas blamed Israel for the PA withdrawal from the talks. Saying, according to the Associated Press, that Israel failed to present detailed proposals for borders and security requested by international mediators. Netanyahu responded by pointing out that the Palestinian Authority representatives “refused to even discuss” Israeli security needs.
In the past, this pattern has been fairly consistent; the Palestinian Authority or previously the PLO agrees to talks, and inevitably withdraws at some point or other, pointing fingers at the Israelis. The Israelis refer to Arab entrenchment and almost always call for a continuation of ‘Peace talks.’
In Prime Minister Netanyahu’s now famous speech to Congress last year, – that followed an aggressive campaign by the Palestinian Authority to gain legitimacy for their continued efforts to attack Israel diplomatically – he passionately proclaimed, “Now again I want to make this clear. Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority.”
This repeated cycle might cause one to wonder, “does Israel actually have a ‘red line?'” Meaning, is there anything that the Arabs could do, that would prompt Israel to demand that the situation to be remedied before agreeing to, or calling for, a return to discussions?
This week, a supreme example was presented when, the usual steady stream of the most heinous anti-Semitic propaganda that is Palestinian Authority TV, made a modest foray into mainstream media outlets when Netanyahu ordered an investigation into the Mufti of Jerusalem’s call at a Fatah Rally to kill Jews. Fatah TV also broadcast a message saying that “Our children… were created to be fertilizer for the land of Palestine, and for our pure land to be saturated with their blood.” The PA TV program For You hosted a congratulatory ceremony for the convicted Fogel Family butchers.
It is clear that the incitement and education of Arab children to kill Jews clearly precludes the possibility of establishing any form of peaceful living arrangement between Arabs and Israelis. Although I have not seen any studies conducted on the subject, many of my Israeli friends have recently commented on how they find Arab youths to be more entrenched and radical than their ancestors in their mission to destroy the Jewish state. Contrast this with the American trend that says “if you are under 30 and are not a liberal you have no heart and if you are over 30 and not a conservative, you have no brain.” An entire generation has arisen that has been spoon-fed a steady diet of vile hate.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s response was reconciliatory in tone when the following was posted on his twitter feed, “We hope the Palestinian Authority decides to resume the talks and back away from terror and glorification of killers.”
Of course this tone is a reflection of Israel’s ever present hunger for peace. It conveys a message to the world that Israel desires nothing more than to live in harmony with its neighbors. However, as a byproduct, there is another dangerous signal that has been received. It tells world powers that Israel is prepared to accept the ongoing travesty of teaching children to hate and murder.
The Palestinian Authority complaint against development building in Judea and Samaria made its debut on center stage when officials made it a precondition to contact with Israel. The EU and the US quickly cottoned on and began to insist on the same. As Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky wrote during the battle of the British military administration against Zionism after World War 1:
“People make concessions, or take into account other people’s interests, only when they know they have got to. But if they are convinced that their neighbor’s claim is no more backed by force, they will naturally avoid binding themselves by any compromise.”
If Israel’s response to Palestinian Authority sanctioned anti-Semitism was to boycott engagement with the PA, perhaps the quartet powers will re-consider the value of political interests versus the purity of a child’s mind.