There is a misconception which has been growing even amongst many Israeli politicians and left leaning citizens as well as growing exponentially throughout Europe and the United States, especially amongst their Jewish populations. This misconception is represented to perfection by Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and her fanatical opposition to the settlements or any Israeli claims which extend beyond the Green Line, the 1949 Armistice Lines which were Israel’s demarcation lines which were the closest thing they had for borders pre-Six Day War. Minister Livni’s latest psychotic rantings came regarding the Israeli government’s decision to declare 4,000 dunams (about 1,000 acres) in the Etzion Bloc as state land as she said such moves as this drive wedges which drive away the moderate actors in the region from coming on board with Israel in forming a lasting and secure peace. This preoccupation of Minister Livni has become her near religious lamentation foreboding doom should Israel lose the support of moderates such as Mahmoud Abbas and many of the other members of the Palestinian Authority. The spread of this same unbalanced view of the direction Israel must take in order to avoid even larger and more violent confrontations such as Israel just experienced with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza is also the source of those from Europe, the United States and United Nations who claim that placing Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority in control of Gaza as the solution and sole path to peace. The Western nations claim that the same ability of the Palestinian Authority to control and prevent terrorism and similar threats such as have exploded repeatedly in Gaza where Hamas has initiated three wars in the past decade while no such explosions have occurred in Judea and Samaria (West Bank). Where Mahmoud Abbas has often made statements and voiced positions in English which have given many great hopes perceiving Abbas as the hope for peace but then those who listen to his comments almost immediately after such comments spoken on Palestinian media in Arabic reveal the ephemeral qualities of his promising lies. But there is more which is wrongheaded about Minister Livni and her fellow travelers’ claims there exists moderates within the Palestinian Authority who offer great promise for the future.
The first great misperception is that the lack of terrorist acts in the Palestinian areas is due to efforts by Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority Security Forces. This belief ignores the fact that there are numerous numbers of rock attacks and numerous other forms of attempted terrorism including stabbings, assaults, vandalism, pipe bombings and verbal assaults often leading to or accompanied by rioting. Another important fact ignored by those making these claims is that much of the prevention of more overt terrorist acts emanating from the Palestinian Authority areas is the efforts of the IDF and Shin Bet which operate within Areas B and C and if they have sufficient evidence they have even entered Area A in order to prevent serious terrorist acts which would endanger the Israeli public. Another truth is that despite the many agreements between Israel and Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority which requires extradition of terror suspects from Palestinian controlled areas to Israeli authorities, virtually every request for the extradition of a terror suspect has been refused by the Palestinian authority. Should the Israelis push the demand the Palestinian Authority will often hold a very public trial of the terrorist in question who will be given a long sentence of which they will serve days, or if really unfortunate, weeks before being released and then often granted a job as a member of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces. If one were to take time to conduct a critical investigation into the efforts of the Palestinian Authority to prevent terrorism they would find minimal cooperation and that the Palestinian Authority Security Force members were actually more likely to facilitate terrorist acts or actually commit a terrorist act than the average Palestinian resident. The main reason that Minister Livni and her fellow travelers appear to be so reasonable is a result of the fact of the regularity and consistency with which terrorist acts such as assaults, stabbings, and the other countless other forms take place in the West Bank. Because these acts happen daily and in cases such as rock attacks, assaults, verbal taunting and insults and even attempted stabbings at checkpoints often occur numerous times every day, the media no longer reports about them unless somebody is killed. Even if these acts result in injuries which are non-life-threatening they are often ignored by much of the media and especially by Haaretz, the leading English language new source from Israel. As everyone is aware, if the news does not cover something, then it never happened and that is why it is accepted that there is little or no terrorism emanating from the Palestinian Authority areas. A perfect example would be the terrorist act in which a Palestinian took control of a large frontend loader and attacked a Jerusalem bus overturning it killing one Israeli a couple of weeks ago yet it received minimal coverage despite the fatality. If you are scratching your head attempting to remember if you read or heard of this attack, then you likely missed it.
Another source of the situation is due to different perceptions and societal norms. Many Western politicians and citizens use their own societal behaviors, expectations, morals and motivations when judging their expectations of how the Palestinian will act in situations. There are some glaring inconsistencies and differences that exist due to foundational differences between Western society and Palestinian society, especially their leadership. Islam has a number of precepts which are completely foreign to the average Westerner and are beyond their ability to incorporate even if others have attempted to explain these concepts because they are so beyond normal accepted behavior in their minds. Taqiyya is one such concept which not only permits a Muslim to lie and deceive in order to promote or further Islamic control over people or land or to gain advantage but requires that they do so in such situations. This means that Mahmoud Abbas is required to say those things which he knows will be taken by Western leaders and people as proof that he is willing and anxious to work with them and Israel in forming a peaceful and secure coexistence between the Palestinians and the Israelis while turning right around and in Arabic making speeches which call for the slaughter of the Jews all in the same afternoon. This also explains how the Palestinians can say anything they need to and guarantee cooperation or willingness to concede lands to the Israelis or make agreements with the Israelis and then when the time comes to sign the aforementioned agreement they refuse and state that they had never agreed to these stipulations and that such a suggestion is an insult to their honor and they then leave often is haste and seemingly feeling great insult and anger. This was exemplified when Yasser Arafat stormed out of negotiations being overseen by United States President Clinton. This made news coverage but not for Arafat and his storming out but because of the spectacle United States Secretary of State Madeline Albright made of herself as she ran after Yasser Arafat screaming and pleading that he return and resume the negotiations. Arafat ignored her pleadings. From commentary made later after President Clinton was out of office he reputed that Arafat became enraged when President Clinton insisted that Arafat deliver on the very items he had agreed upon during the earlier session of the negotiations and Arafat insisted he had never agreed to such agreements and Clinton called him on it as being dishonest at which point Arafat stormed out acting insulted.
Another difference comes from having diametrically opposite definitions for terms and concepts. The easiest to present is how the Western world defines peace and how Islam defines peace. Western definition of peace is the lack of hostilities and usually implies an end to any conflict. Islam defines peace as the lack of opposition, the surrender of their opposition. Peace does not mean a finding of a middle ground where both sides give some and receive some in an exchange seeking to end disagreements and restore healthy relations in Islam. Their concept of peace is they get everything they demand and you simply fold and take a subservient position. Peace means the defeat of their enemy by means other than open conflict though the threat of open conflict can be a part of the exchange which brings the Muslim forces unrestricted superiority granting them superiority over their adversary. In Islam there is no term for a ceasefire or peace treaty, they have the concept of a hudna which is defined according to some agreements made by Muhammad with the enemies he fought. The best known example was the hudna he reached with the rulers of Mecca when Muhammad led his forces from Medina to take his city of birth and claim it for Islam. Initially the forces in Mecca were sufficiently armed and capable that Muhammad’s army was equally matched or facing a possible loss. This led to the hudna which was defined as a peace treaty which would last for a decade. Within two years Muhammad had augmented his forces giving him a definitive advantage so he broke the hudna and mercilessly attacked and destroyed the forces in Mecca. This became the model for Muslim armies from that date forward. This was one of the reasons that Hamas broke nearly every ceasefire they presumably agreed upon with the Israelis during the Cairo negotiations. The current ceasefire between Israel and the forces of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the others terror forces in Gaza will probably not last into the presumed open ended time frame as many in the west have predicted. My estimate is if it survives to its first birthday I will be very pleasantly surprised and figure six to nine months at best.
Perhaps you have heard or read about the great solution proposed by the United States, Egypt (reluctantly), the European Union and many member governments, numerous Western NGOs (many with the required word ‘peace’ in their names) and leftist within Israel who never seem to miss an opportunity to become surprised when their plans go awry. This ultimate and ingenious plan centers around placing the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas in charge in Gaza and having them inspect all incoming shipments for arms and assuring that all building supplies are utilized for rebuilding the Gazan infrastructure, residential buildings, schools, hospitals, clinics, mosques and other civilian buildings and not put into reconstructing the Hamas infiltrations and smuggling tunnels. This will definitely work this time around and there is absolutely no possibility that it will end in another coup in which hundreds of Palestinian Authority Security Forces being murdered followed by a purging of Palestinian Authority and Fatah employees and members by throwing them from the roofs of the taller buildings in Gaza as happened in 2007. We know that such a result is beyond the expectations of any reasonable person as Hamas has been weakened and joined the unity government with Fatah because it was a virtual surrender. It could not be because Hamas planned to take over control of the unity government and bring their rocket attacks and other terrorism to Judea and Samaria and be capable of really forcing the closure of Ben Gurion International Airport and destroy much of Israeli infrastructure and threaten three-quarters of Israeli population from the high ground overlooking central Israel called the Judean Hills. Of course those who believe that Hamas is facing collapse and is so spent that they must play nice and surrender all control to Mahmoud Abbas suffer from the blindness of wishful thinking. These true believers in the rosy future scenario are ignoring the coup attempt by Hamas just last week which was prevented when Israel’s Shin Bet with the assistance of the IDF arrested ninety-three Hamas members in the West Bank and also captured caches of arms, explosives and other tools of the trade preventing the coup which would have provided Hamas control of the entirety of the Palestinian Authority and be able to expand their rockets and other terrorist activities to the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) to augment their forces in Gaza. The end game planned by Hamas is a unity government named Hamas and with the financial support from Qatar and arms from Iran is something not to be refuted as having no possibility of becoming reality; it is definitely possible and probably inevitable if Abbas remains in a unity government.
Beyond the Cusp