Next Failed Peace Talks
By Ruthie Blum
May 12, 2017
part of U.S. President Donald Trump's trip to Israel and the Palestinian
Authority on May 22-23, he will meet with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in
Bethlehem. It will be the second time this month that the two leaders will have
sat down to discuss the impasse in the peace process; the first took place at
the White House just over a week ago.
their chat in Washington, Abbas fed Trump his usual lies. Among these was the
claim that Palestinian children are raised to be tolerant and peace-loving. That
the U.S. president did not burst out laughing at this absurdity is more a
function of his being new on the job than having good manners. It is also
probably due to his belief that he will be able to apply the "art of the
deal" to the Israeli-Palestinian context and broker a successful agreement.
will soon learn, however, that his methods will not work. Even a business deal
cannot be forged when the true aim of one side is failure. Indeed, it is
precisely the lack of Palestinian statehood that has been Abbas' meal ticket
internationally -- and the only thing that has kept him the least bit relevant
at home. Well, that and cultivating, honoring and paying the salaries of
fact, as Palestinian Media Watch revealed on Wednesday, while Abbas was sitting
in the Oval Office, his Fatah faction was openly lauding suicide bombers and
other murderers of Jews.
its official Facebook page on May 3, Abbas' faction Fatah sent
"blessings" to 12 of the "heroic prisoners" currently
staging an open-ended hunger strike in a number of Israeli prisons. According to
PMW, these included Abbas Al-Sayid, mastermind of the infamous suicide bombing
at a Passover Seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya, and Marwan Barghouti, who is
serving five life sentences for orchestrating several deadly attacks.
Incidentally, being incarcerated did not prevent Barghouti from being re-elected
to the PA parliament from jail. On the contrary, it made him even more popular.
is nothing novel about the glorification of terrorists in the PA or about the
hypocrisy of killers like Barghouti. Nor is it new for an American
administration to fantasize about finding the magic formula for striking peace
between Israel and the Palestinians. But it is interesting that Abbas reportedly
requested of Trump that the starting point of any new talks be based on the
parameters of his negotiations with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in
2008. He also was said to have presented the U.S. president with maps and other
documents related to Olmert's offer, which involved a nearly complete Israeli
withdrawal from the West Bank and east Jerusalem. It was an offer -- as Abbas
acknowledged for the first time in an interview with Israel's Channel 10 in 2015
-- which he then flatly refused.
the interview, which appeared in a three-part series about the peace talks
between PLO chief Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000 and those
between Abbas and Olmert eight years later, Abbas made the preposterous
statement that one of the reasons he rejected the deal was because he didn't
understand Olmert's map. Apparently, he has been boning up on his cartography
ahead of the next round of bad-faith negotiations that will be marked by and
culminate in Palestinian violence.
only question now is how Trump will respond to the inevitable failure of such
negotiations, if they take place at all. Will he follow in the footsteps of his
shameful predecessor and hold Israel responsible, or will he realize he's been
duped? Let us hope it is the latter.