Between Them, Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas Clarify Israel’s Options

Dozens of acres of Israeli forests and fields were burned in the past few days because of the so-called “incendiary kites” that Palestinians in Gaza have launched over the security fence. Meanwhile, on Monday, Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech to the Palestinian National Council—the congress of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)—in which he blamed Jews for bringing the Holocaust upon themselves with their usury and “social behavior,” explained that the Shoah was a Nazi-Zionist plot (a favorite subject of his), and decried the Jewish state as the extension of British colonialism. To Jonathan Tobin, the two events throw the choices confronting Israel in stark relief:

Israel is being asked to trade its only bargaining chips in the form of territory in exchange for something that—as even most peace advocates acknowledge—will be an armed truce at best, rather than peace. Abbas’s speech is a tip-off that the Palestinian state clamored for by peace advocates would be a stepping stone to new campaigns aimed at the end of the Jewish nation.

Israelis know this because they saw what happened the last time Israel gave up territory, when then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew every last soldier, settler, and settlement from Gaza in 2005. Instead of trading land for peace, Israel traded land for terror. Instead of protesting the Israeli settlements in their midst, Hamas-ruled Gaza now protests the “settlements” inside the borders of pre-1967 Israel.

The Friday “March of Return” demonstrations at the border between Israel and Gaza being orchestrated by Hamas are not civil-rights protests. The point of these weekly efforts, in which Palestinians armed with guns, Molotov cocktails, rocks, burning tires, and lit kites try to tear down the security barrier that protects Israel, . . . is to destroy the Jewish state. . . . Evacuating Gaza didn’t inspire its people to accept the notion of two states for two peoples. It merely whetted their appetite to continue their century-old war on Zionism which, contrary to the claims of some on the Jewish left, they have yet to concede is a lost cause.

So the question for Jews who carp at Netanyahu and claim that Israel is the obstacle to peace is: which Palestinian state do you want? The one in the West Bank led by a fanatical anti-Semite who is determined to whip up hatred for Jews among his people? Or the one led by Islamist terrorists in Gaza who are already actively seeking Israel’s destruction? If Israelis say, “no, thank you,” to either and insist that, as bad as things are, repeating Sharon’s disastrous Gaza experiment in the West Bank will make things infinitely worse, it’s because they are paying attention to what Abbas and Hamas are saying. American kibitzers and critics ought to do the same.

Read more at JNS

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza withdrawal, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Two-State Solution


President Biden Should Learn the Lessons of Past U.S. Attempts to Solve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Sept. 21 2023

In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Joe Biden addressed a host of international issues, mentioning, inter alia, the “positive and practical impacts” resulting from “Israel’s greater normalization and economic connection with its neighbors.” He then added that the U.S. will “continue to work tirelessly to support a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians—two states for two peoples.” Zach Kessel experiences some déjà vu:

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and review how past U.S.-brokered talks between Jerusalem and [Palestinian leaders] have gone down, starting with 1991’s Madrid Conference, organized by then-President George H.W. Bush. . . . Though the talks, which continued through the next year, didn’t get anywhere concrete, many U.S. officials and observers across the world were heartened by the fact that Madrid was the first time representatives of both sides had met face to face. And then Palestinian militants carried out the first suicide bombing in the history of the conflict.

Then, in 1993, Bill Clinton tried his hand with the Oslo Accords:

In the period of time directly after the Oslo Accords . . . suicide bombings on buses and in crowded public spaces became par for the course. Clinton invited then-Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to Camp David in 2000, hoping finally to put the conflict to rest. Arafat, who quite clearly aimed to extract as many concessions as possible from the Israelis without ever intending to agree to any deal—without even putting a counteroffer on the table—scuttled any possibility of peace. Of course, that’s not the most consequential event for the conflict that occurred in 2000. Soon after the Camp David Summit fell apart, the second intifada began.

Since Clinton, each U.S. president has entered office hoping to put together the puzzle that is an outcome acceptable to both sides, and each has failed. . . . Every time a deal has seemed to have legs, something happens—usually terrorist violence—and potential bargains are scrapped. What, then, makes Biden think this time will be any different?

Read more at National Review

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Joe Biden, Palestinian terror, Peace Process