Monday, June 29, 2009

The world according to Fayad

From THE JERUSALEM POST, Jun. 28, 2009, by Barry Rubin:

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's big policy speech received global attention. Not so that of his Palestinian Authority counterpart, Salaam Fayad, whose June 22 presentation deserves careful analysis.

...HIS FIRST problem is that Hamas controls the Gaza Strip and seeks the PA's overthrow in the West Bank. Most Fatah and PA leaders prefer peace with Hamas rather than Israel. keep the door open for such conciliation, the PA can't come closer to making a deal with Israel.

...Fayad says Palestinians must avoid "politicizing" the Gaza issue that would enable sanctions to continue against the Hamas regime there. ...By fighting any isolation or sanctions on Hamas, the PA ensures that Hamas tightens its hold on the Gaza Strip ...[and]ensures its Islamist rival appears the more effective fighter.

Second, while not directly endorsing terrorism and violence - in contrast to most of his colleagues and the PA's own institutions - Fayad argues that Israel holding any Palestinian prisoners in jail is "a violation of international law." In other words, if a Palestinian attacks or murders Israelis, Israel has no right to imprison him. What option does it have? Only to set them free to try again. Here, too, Fayad supports and glorifies cost-free terrorism.

Third, Fayad argues that it's not the PA's job to convince Israel by its good behavior or to negotiate bilaterally on the basis of mutual concessions and compromises. Instead, as other PA leaders have openly stated recently, the PA's strategy is to get the world to pressure Israel to give it everything it wants.

While presenting his speech partly as a response to Netanyahu, Fayad confronts none of his points, merely dismissing his position as vague, which it certainly wasn't. (Ironically, in contrast to most Western observers, Fayad acknowledges that Netanyahu endorsed a two-state solution six years ago.)

It's Fayad who is vague - Netanyahu gives a list of specific conditions; Fayad does nothing of the kind. In fact, he does something peculiar. According to him, Netanyahu is presenting an "Israeli narrative" about the conflict, while Palestinians say they have their own "narrative" - one which Fayad says he won't talk about. Why is he vague and not presenting his own case? Because he cannot do so. The narrative as laid out by Netanyahu is clear: Jews want and merit a state; the conflict is due to an Arab refusal to accept that state's existence. This does not prevent a two-state solution, one state for each people.

The Palestinian narrative, to this day, is that Jews have no such right to a state and that all the land is rightly Palestinian, Arab and (for the most part) Muslim. This narrative does prevent a two-state solution. That is what Fayad cannot admit.

...Fayad ...views Israel as the weaker side in relation to the West and thinks those other countries will force it to make concessions without limit.

By feeding the PA's false belief that the West will pressure Israel into giving it a state in the borders it wants, without concessions, restrictions or even implementation of past promises, the US and European governments are doing a very effective job in sabotaging any possibility for peace.

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