Friday, October 04, 2013

Palestinian dilemma

The Palestinians are upset because Syria is stealing the headlines. Although Pres. Abbas of the so-called "State" of Palestine, which is not a recognized state at all, spoke at the UN General Assembly, it hardly raised an eyebrow. The fact is that the Palestinians are passe, they have been outclassed and outshone in the area of terrorism and publicity by their Arab colleagues. Using chemical weapons against his civilian population gets Assad more column inches than Abbas can achieve.

But, some of the Palestinians are even more upset because Abbas has continued the negotiations with Israel that are onging in the region and has publicly rejected the use of terrorism. The Hamas rulers of Gaza are calling for a third intifada to show their disdain for peaceful means to resolve the dispute. They are commited to the use of force as the only way to destroy Israel and "end the occupation." This is a definition of insanity, keep trying to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome. There are also groups within Fatah, the party of Abbas, who endorse a third intifada, because they cannot face the prospect of actually making peace with Israel and recognizing Israel's existence as a Jewish State. Although there are continuing incidents of Palestinian terrorism, such as the murder of an IDF soldier on the West Bank and the shooting of an IDF guard at a checkpoint in Hebron, nevertheless sustained terrorism has not been renewed. There have been incidents of rioting throughout the West Bank to commemorate the anniversary of the second intifada, but it was largely contained by the IDF with some arrests.

Frankly, the Palestinians don't know what to do. The UNRWA organization that has for 60 years been providing free welfare for most Palestinians, who call themselves "refugees," has been hit by reduced contributions. The Arab countries that have commited themselves to support UNRWA to only 7.5% of its budget (the US provides 25%!), have actually only contributed less than half that amount. Syria can't contribute, Egypt is in dire financial straits and has closed all the tunnels to Gaza and is considered an enemy of Hamas, and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are busy contributing to the opposition forces in Syria. The Palestinians are simply on the back burner.

Only the US seems intent on raising the Palestinian issue as a major factor in the Middle East. Pres. Obama in his speech at the UN GA identified Syria and the Palestinian peace talks as the two major issues in US foreign policy. Frankly most people thought this was a mistake, how can you compare the two situations as far as significance for the US is concerned. Secty of State Kerry also stated that the peace talks must be "intensified," but so far there has been no reported progress. Also, the US is intervening directly in the Israeli-Palestinian talks, something they said they would not do. This usually leads to pressure on Israel since the Palestinians never give an inch anyway, they don't know the meaning of the word "compromise."

So the Palestinians are faced with a dilemma, they don't really want to make peace wih Israel, but they cannot win any resort to terror, even the most died-in-the-wool rejectionists must recognize this by now. So they will waffle around for a while, until reality hits and the PA probably goes belly-up and dies. What will happen then is anybody's guess.


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