Palestinian Authority President Abbas announced in a conference in Ramallah, “The peace process is clinically dead and the Israeli side is definitely the one responsible. The ball is in their court.” Just days before his meeting with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and putting further emphasis on this not so surprising announcement, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat added the following speaking to AFP on Sunday, “I was assigned by President Abbas to inform US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of our position on resuming negotiations once Israel commits to stopping settlement activity and release of prisoners, among other obligations. These are not preconditions but obligations and Israel must abide by them. We hope the American administration compels the Israeli government to fulfill its obligations in order to get the peace process back on track.”
Before anybody starts digging a grave for the obviously moribund peace process, shall we look a little deeper at exactly what was said, what was omitted, and what it is exactly that Mahmoud Abbas and his fellow conspirators are attempting to achieve by all this bluster. The first thing of note is that these grand statements and high drama come immediately before a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton. So, the first possibility is this was all setting the table for guiding the talks with Secretary Clinton in a desired direction. The crucial phrase was given to Saeb Erakat to relay and were, “…resuming negotiations once Israel commits to stopping settlement activity and release of prisoners, among other obligations. These are not preconditions but obligations and Israel must abide by them.” There are two items to note in this excerpt from Mr. Erakat. The demand that these are not “preconditions” but rather are “obligations” and as such Israel is bound to meet these requirements before anybody can even start to talk of the two sides meeting and negotiations restarting. That begs a few questions starting with where does this set of obligations derive from? Were these parts and parcel of any agreement between the two sides? Was this a binding resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations or similar decree from any other body holding the power to make these demands upon Israel? The answer is no. These are an ever lengthening set of demands that appear to sprout from the furtive imagination of one Mahmoud Abbas. Israel not only has never agreed to these stipulations, they have never discussed such things in all of their negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. And that leads us to the second consideration of what exactly is meant by “…Israel commits to stopping settlement activity and release of prisoners, among other obligations.” The idea of stopping settlement activity was a misstep, intentional or out of pure ignorance, made by the President of the United States Barack Obama which did lead to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu actually committing to place a one-time moratorium on settlement construction for ten months. During that period, Mahmoud Abbas twittered away the first nine months and only in the final three weeks made any appearance of an effort to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu. The end result was President Abbas demanding that the American President force the Israelis to extend the settlement freeze for an indeterminate amount of time until Abbas judged that the negotiations were completed. That demand never had any chance in the world and President Obama did not even back that demand.
About the rest where it adds, “…release of prisoners, among other obligations.” The release of prisoners is ridiculous as Israel recently released a large number of prisoners, over one thousand in total. But, needless to say, in the world of Mahmoud Abbas such does not count and Israel must release hundreds of prisoners each and every time he requests or they are obstructing the negotiations. The best part is the open ended “among other obligations.” This wonderful catch-all phrase fits the Mahmoud Abbas negotiation method perfectly and defines his approach for the past years explicitly. This allows Mr. Abbas to add item after item after item just in the case where Israel might decide to call his bluff and meet the stated demands. These other obligations inevitably will lead to the one deal breaker Mr. Abbas keeps in his back pocket for those emergencies when he is caught without a new demand, that is the “Right of return” where he insists that Israel absorb four and a half million or more so-called Palestinian refugees. We will get into the unique definition of Palestinian refugee in a moment. Other standard demands that he currently has been including in this list include but are not limited to the following; release of all Palestinian prisoners who have been incarcerated from before the year 2000 (this consists almost exclusively of prisoners who have murdered multiple Israeli civilians and are serving multiple life sentences, or put another way, the worst of the worst), surrender of all of the Old City of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount and the Western Wall (which then would be made off limits in practice if not in fact through violence such as is often seen when Jews visit Jacobs Tomb in Hevron), usage of the 1949 Armistice Lines as the starting point for the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, and others. The latest and most mind boggling of President Mahmoud Abbas demands was introduced in the last week or so when he now demands that the Palestinian Authority, fresh off being recognized by UNESCO as a member country, have the right to import weapons. Be assured, he will claim to the press that he intends only to upgrade the pitiful weapons his security forces and police are forced to use currently and nothing really serious. The Palestinian police and security forces are armed with two year old M-16s, a commensurate number equipped with M-209 grenade launchers, M-60 30 caliber belt-fed machine guns, 9MM side arms, and whatever older weapons they have from unofficial sources which include many Kalashnikov assault rifles, Russian and other RPGs, and when including the terror arm of Mahmoud Abbas’s PLO, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, very likely anti-tank launchers and other and various crew served weapons including small and medium range mortars, Grad rockets, Katyusha rockets, enhanced Katyusha rockets, Qassam rockets, and other various mines, explosives grenades and indirect fire weapons. Yet, Mr. Abbas sees the need to enhance their armory with whatever he can drag across the border with assistance from Iran, Russia, possibly some European countries, and whomever else might be willing to trust him to take the weapons now and pay them some time in the future. And this is also an obligation he requires of Israel despite their never having agreed to anything even remotely resembling such.
Now for the promised definition of a Palestinian Refugee. Where in the real world, that is anywhere not part of the Palestinian influence and support groups, the refugees are cared for by the UNHCR which is tasked with caring for refugees and making every possible attempt to arrange for the refugees to return to their homes after any crisis has ended or be absorbed into an accepting country in cases where the refugees are the result of a war or agreement which changes state boundaries. One example were the hundreds of millions of Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu refugees who found themselves on the opposite side of the formation of India and Pakistan and desired to be relocated to their respective states. Oddly enough, today all of those refugees have been relocated and are living as citizens within one or the other country. Pakistan was founded approximately one year earlier than was Israel and due to much the same problems of religiously motivated warfare between Muslim and Hindu people as compared to Muslim and Jews in the founding of Israel. The main responsibility for UNHCR is to resettle and resolve all refugee situations. This was totally unacceptable to the Arab and Muslim states which desired to retain as many refugees as possible to use as a political bludgeon against Israel. They desired a way to actually increase the numbers of refugees. Within a decade of the founding of Israel, approximately six-hundred and fifty-thousand to seven-thousand Arabs were displaced from their homes within Israel by the Israeli War for survival after Israel was attacked by more than five Arab neighbors the day after her founding. The vast majority of these refugees had willingly abandoned their homes believing the promises of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Amin al-Husayni who promised them a quick war where the Jews would be massacred and they could return to their homes and take of the spoils of victory. During the same period many Arab and Muslim countries either forced their Jewish population to leave or the Jews fled extreme violence and pogroms leaving behind their homes, businesses, and any wealth they were unable to carry. These Jews numbered over seven-hundred-fifty-thousand and some estimates place the number near to nine-hundred-thousand. Today there are no Jewish refugees left from that time and even millions of Russian Jewish refugees have been absorbed by Israel and Israel is in the process of absorbing hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian and Indian Jews currently. Today the number of Palestinian Refugees is estimated at somewhere over four-and-a-half-million. The United Nations went so far as to have an agency just for the Palestinian refugees separate from all other refugees. This organization is UNRWA and has the charge to increase the number of those considered Palestinian refugees by any method possible. Unlike other refugees who had to actually have been alive and lost their homes at the time of whatever event caused their refugee status, Palestinian refugees are not so tasked. If either parent is a Palestinian refugee, then the child is a Palestinian refugee, and their children will be refugees and their children will also be Palestinian refugees. Under the care of UNRWA there exist millions of second, third, fourth, and possible starting to be fifth generation Palestinian refugees. The sole solution the world has been conditioned to allow for these refugees is their incorporation into Israeli society in order to overwhelm the Jewish population of Israel and thus conquer Israel through sheer numbers. This is the intent of the demand for the “Right of Return” for Palestinian refugees. It is simply another imitation of the Jewish laws for the return from the Diaspora of Jews to Israel which is the “Law of Right of Return”. The Palestinians have even now begun to refer to the Palestinian refugees as being the Palestinian Diaspora in order to make them appear to have the same heritage to return to their ancient homeland. To initially qualify as a Palestinian refugee one need not even have been living within the Middle East and definitely not within what became Israel to qualify. All one need claim is that they resided in the British Mandate area for two years between 1940 and 1949 and they became Palestinian refugees. Even if they lived in Palo Alto, California in the United States during the 1948-1949 Israeli Arab War but had lived in the British Mandate from 1941 to 1944 they became Palestinian refugees as have their children and grand-children on and on. This is just the tip of the iceberg that is the scandal that is the Palestinian refugees. There are no Palestinian refugee camps within Israel; they all exist either in Palestinian autonomous areas or in Arab countries such as Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon etc. President Assad has numerous times shelled some of the Palestinian refugee camps in Syria during the civil war that is ongoing. In Lebanon the Palestinians are forbidden from most forms of employment and are not allowed to own land or even rent an apartment and their camps are guarded to keep them within, not to protect them. Jordan was the sole country to grant Palestinian refugees citizenship. Many of those citizens were stripped of that privilege after the Black September uprising by Yasser Arafat when he attempted a coup in Jordan against the King. The Palestinians remain as refugees multiple generations after their original loss of their homes in a war they did not start and neither did the Israelis start, but that was propagated in the Palestinians’ names by their brother Arabs and Muslims. That is an introduction to the reality that is the Palestinian refugee problem. Even under Mahmoud Abbas in the Palestinian Authority areas of autonomy the Palestinian refugees are contained in squalor of their refugee camps in greater poverty than their brethren who feel nothing for them and only wish to use them to destroy Israel.
Beyond the Cusp