Hugh Fitzgerald, The Islamic version of a “Partner for Peace.”
The story is here: “Palestinians threaten Israel: ‘Either Palestine, or a fire for a generation,’” JNS, October 28, 2020:
Claiming that the United States and Israel are planning to “redesign” the Middle East via “normalization” and the US peace plan, the Palestinian Authority is threatening “anarchy, violence and instability.”
“Normalization” of ties with Israel by several Arab states has not been the result of some kind of diabolical American and Israeli plot. It reflects, instead, the sober decisions by the governments of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan to do what will best further their national interests, and the well-being of their peoples, instead of allowing themselves to continue to be held hostage by Palestinian demands. UAE businessmen have already been rushing to sign deals with Israeli counterparts, in trade, technology, and tourism. So have Bahrainis, though on an understandably lesser scale, given the state’s small size. And now Sudan will begin to reap benefits from its own normalizing of ties with the Jewish state, with Israel now eager to share with Sudanese farmers its own advances in drip irrigation, waste water management, and solar energy, all areas where Israel is a world leader. But the Palestinians are indifferent to what the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan want, and have achieved, for their own people; every Arab state should in their view put the Palestinians first. That means there should be no normalization of ties with Israel until there is, as they put it, a “Palestinian state in the 1967 lines” – which means Israel would be squeezed back within the 1949 armistice lines, with a nine-mile wide waist from Qalqilya to the sea.
According to a report by Israeli NGO Palestinian Media Watch, an Oct. 13 editorial in the Ramallah-run Al-Hayat Al-Jadida daily, the PA lashed out at the Arab states that have recently signed peace agreements with Israel, stating that “a fire [will burn] generation after generation” unless the PA gets “Palestine.”
“Let the American administration and those doing its bidding not be deluded that it is possible to erase the strong Palestinian number from the equation of the conflict, whether by alternatives (!!) [parentheses in source] or by other means,” states the editorial.
“This is because the option of ‘I’m taking my enemies down with me’ remains a Palestinian option regarding which there is no disagreement, if the battle becomes a battle of life or death. The meaning of ‘I’m taking my enemies down with me’ will only be as follows: Either peace for everyone, or anarchy, violence, and instability.”
Of course the Palestinian Arabs have on many occasions been offered peace: by Ehud Barak to Yassir Arafat in 2000, by Ehud Olmert to Mahmoud Abbas in 2008, generous offers that both Palestinian leaders simply walked away from. And just this year they were again offered peace, with 70% of the West Bank two large enclaves of Israel land in the Negev that were intended to compensate them for the 30% of the West Bank that Israel would retain. And in addition, they would be receiving $50 billion in foreign aid. But again, Abbas refused even to discuss this latest offer out of hand.
This “Samson option” of “taking my enemies down with me” reflects the frenzied desperation of the Palestinians, who have been shocked to discover how little they now count in the calculations of other Arabs. When they tried to have the Arab League criticize the UAE and Bahrain, they were turned down flat – not a single Arab state supported their demand. The Palestinians heaped curses and insults on the UAE and Bahraini; they defaced, and stomped on, images of the leaders and flags of both countries. This insensate display, in turn, angered Arabs throughout the Gulf. At last getting the message, Mahmoud Abbas directed the Palestinians to tone down their criticism of Sudan, which they did. However, the fury of the Palestinians with all three normalizing states has not dissipated.
The PA defines “Palestine” as including all of the State of Israel – regardless of their claims to the international community that they are only interested in the West Bank and Jerusalem, according to Palestinian Media Watch.
The Palestinian Authority, as well as Hamas – the terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip, has strongly rejected the recent rapprochement between the Arab world and the Jewish state, which has seen the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan recognize Israel and seek full ties with it.
Fatah and Hamas both have decried the move as a “betrayal” of the Palestinian cause.
The Arab states need to remind the PA that for decades they transferred billions of dollars to the Palestinian Arabs; that beginning in 1948, Arab states – especially Egypt and Syria — fought wars on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs, including the three major conflicts in 1948-49, 1967, and 1973; that the Arabs have sacrificed men, money, and materiel in those wars; that the Arabs have further conducted propaganda campaigns on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs. They have never received any gratitude from the Palestinians for all this effort – only constant requests for still more handouts of money. And the Arabs are well aware that, while these demands for more aid are made, Palestinian leaders have managed to appropriate huge sums diverted from that aid. Two former leaders of Hamas, Khaled Meshal and Moussa Abu Marzouk, have each amassed fortunes of at least $2.5 billion, while the PA leader, Mahmoud Abbas, no slouch at such things himself, has managed to acquire a tidy nest egg of $400 million. Arab donors are naturally put out by this diversion of funds — that were intended to help all the Palestinian Arabs — into the pockets of the grasping rulers in Gaza and the West Bank.
The Palestinian Arabs have treated their major donors, the Gulf Arabs, as nothing more than ATM machines with flags. And they are outraged that so far three Arab states have decided to look after their own interests in making agreements with Israel that promise to be of great economic benefit to them. How dare these other Arabs put their own interests ahead of those of the Palestinians?
The Palestinian threat, enunciated in an editorial in the Ramallah-based newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, is that if the Palestinians do not get their way they will bring “anarchy, violence, and instability.” But where will they bring this “anarchy, violence, and instability”? Surely not to the UAE, Bahrain, or Sudan, or to any other Arab state. Any such attempt by Palestinians living in those states would be crushed and furthermore, retaliation would be visited wholesale upon resident Palestinians, who would be promptly expelled, just the way Kuwait expelled 200,000 Palestinians overnight for having welcomed Saddam Hussein’s invading army in 1990.
Will the Palestinians bring “anarchy, violence, and instability” to Gaza? There is plenty of that already in the Strip, and it’s hard to imagine that it could get much worse. But if it did, the victims would be the Palestinian Arabs themselves. Israel can easily seal off the Gaza Strip if necessary, containing that “anarchy, violence, and instability”; there would be little spillover effect from Gaza. As for the West Bank, the “anarchy, violence, and instability” that the PA is threatening will, as in Gaza, have as its main victims the Palestinian Arabs themselves. Israel might place its soldiers around the Jewish settlements to protect them, keeping the “anarchy, violence, and instability” to Arab population centers, just as the IDF has for more than two years contained the violence, and attempt to breach Israel’s security fence with Gaza, by the Palestinians taking part in the Great March of Return. Let the Palestinian Arabs play out their rage among themselves. This will only bring them more suffering and elicit more anger directed at their grasping and incompetent rulers.
Incapable of sensible statecraft, instead of some roll-up-your-sleeves encouragement to their people, some ennobling offer from their leaders of “blood, toil, tears, and sweat” by and for the Palestinians, Abbas and his cronies can only threaten, hysterically, to bring “anarchy, violence, and instability.” That’s what the Palestinian Lords of Misrule, with their endemic corruption and mismanagement, offer: nothing but destruction. They’ve turned down several generous offers from Israel, including that made to Mahmoud Abbas by Ehud Olmert, who in 2008 offered nearly 100% of the West Bank as well as relinquishing Israeli control of the Old City, but it wasn’t enough for Abbas – he walked away. The Palestinians refused even to attend a donor’s conference in Manama earlier this year where an aid package for them of $50 billion was to have been discussed. And now, despite the economic distress of his people, Mahmoud Abbas still refuses to take delivery of the $750 million in customs duties Israel has collected for the PA and is ready to hand over. Why is he behaving thus? Because in not accepting the $750 million collected for the PA by Israel, he is determined to “punish” the Jewish state for its previous plan to extend Israeli sovereignty over part of the West Bank, even though that plan has now been suspended. Some punishment.
“Anarchy, violence, and instability” – nothing comes more naturally to the Palestinians. As long as the IDF is protecting the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria,and keeps Gaza walled off, let the heathen rage. The Palestinian Arabs, in the territories where they rule, will foment, encourage, and wallow in that anarchy, that violence, that instability. Eventually, even these scorpions in a bottle will exhaust themselves.