Khaled Abu Toameh, is a Palestinian-Arab Israeli, journalist, born 1963 in Baqa al-Gharbiyye. This is a twin town in the center of Israel, one part Israeli and the other, Baqa al-Sharqiya Arab.
Khaled, a journalist whom I estimate very much, who advocates the freedom of speech and thoughts in the Palestinian territories. Because of his humanitarian attitude he is opposed very often in the media. His reports in international think tanks and newspapers are legendary in the media covering the Near East.
He defines himself as belonging to the 1.6 million Arabs, 20 % of the population, living in Israel.
For 32 years Khaled is active in reporting about Israel, in TV, radio, print- and online media. At the beginning of his professional career he worked for an Arab newspaper from East-Jerusalem. Nowadays thousands of foreign journalists arrive every day in Israel to report about „the Palestinian cause.“ Contrary to Gaza, Israel has freedom of press without any limitation. But, for obtaining information needed, journalists are asking Khaled for help.
Remark: Yes, there is a limitation to press freedom. Whenever the IDF or the government decides, that due to security reasons, personal protection or an ongoing investigation, information must be kept under gag order, there will be no exception, until the gag order is lifted.
Khaleds estimation of the current situation is nothing but negative. After being active in journalism for more then 30 years, he assumes, that the peace process is dead, after many efforts to push it forward. After all, possible solutions have been overruled. Without results, each and any new effort will fail.
He sees the reasons for the failure of peace efforts because of the PA,
1. The PA has no leadership able to make decisions
2. A total lack of education for peace
Ad 1: There are no concessions for making peace! Neither under Arafat, nor under Abbas. It is a wrong assumption in the global public to believe, if only enough money and weapons are delivered to the PA, concessions will develop by themselves.
Let’s remember Camp David. What happened, Arafat left the meeting room hurriedly. Shaken by this harsh reaction Ehud Barak asked, what he (Arafat) had expected. The offered 97% haven’t they been enough? Arafat’s rude answer was: No, it must be 100%!
100% of the territory before 1967, which means, the territory defined by the temporary borders at the end of the War of Independence 1948. The proposal Barak stated was 97% oft he requested territory or nothing.
12 days later the PA and Palestinian media representatives met for a briefing in Ramallah, to clarify, why the negotiation had failed.
Arafat’s explanation was as simple as clear:
1. The Jews did not give 100% I asked for,
2. They wanted me to put an end to the conflict, but I was not ready to make any concession,
3. I do not want to end, as Sadat did (he had been murdered in 1981, after sealing the peace contract with Israel in 1979).
John Kerry, in and off in Israel in peace effort matters, spoke out at the beginning of his mission: „You’ve got nine months to solve a problem which is more than 100 years old!“ The Gordian knot is a child’s puzzle compared to it.
Dr. Mahmud Abbas has no power – if he ever had – to negotiate. And even if Kerry, Obama and Netanyahu could manage to negotiate a contract, it would not be worth its ink and paper, if negotiated with Abbas. Abbas has once been elected for four years for the PA office, but is in office now for ten years.
The biggest mistake he, the President of the PA could do now is, to go to Gaza. His villa on the beach of Gaza City was taken over by Hamasniks long ago. The moment he crosses into Gaza via Erez crossing, he will lose it all: Power, his political claim, wealth. Abbas is doomed to stay in Ramallah until the end of his days – unless he is willing to submit himself to Hamas.
It’s Arab nature never and under no circumstances to loose face, if they want to keep up their powerful position. It’s better to look for a scapegoat. In this case the scapegoat are the settlements in Yehuda and Shomron, which have been upgraded to be the unique problem per se. This distracts the attention from their own weakness. Each concession, resulting to less than 100% success, turns a negotiator into a traitor.
Ad 2: Within the entire Arab world massive campaigns are popping up, with the only intent to delegitimize Israel. Campaigns such as BDS-Movement, in meantime active worldwide.
There is a whole generation of brain-washed Palestinians. If there is a possibility to reach a peace agreement, then the psychological re-education must start immediately. Instead of the daily repeated narrative, that there is no 3000 year old Jewish history, on the contrary, that every historical, geographical and archeological site is part of the Islamic world. Instead of the weekly spread narrative telling the Palestinian Arabs, that all Jews are murderers and that they control the media and banks, the truth must be revealed. But the defamation campaign against Israel is now going on for 40 years. The new social media made it easy to spread defamation and delegitimation globally. We’ve educated a whole generation to praise and to glorify suicide attackers.
If tomorrow elections would be held in Yehuda and Shomron, the terror organizations Hamas, Jihad and ISIS would win. The government, if we still can call it government, drifts more and more into the arms of Hamas.
And both sides, the moderate PA and the radical Hamas are demanding for 100% success.
1948 the objective of the radical camp was to destroy established Israel. 1967 the objective of the moderate camp was, to force Israel to draw back behind the borders of 1949.
Today, the question here in Israel is: How much land for peace?
As it is now, the situation improved a little bit. But there is no Palestinian leader, who would discuss, even behind 10 sound proof doors, to accept a serious proposal with 97%.
Therefor the best achievable goal is, to keep up the status quo, to defend the territories of Yehuda and Shomron and to be prepared for another war with Hamas, any time.
An unilateral pull out from Yehuda and Shomron would trigger the immediate takeover by Hamas. This would be the physical end of Abbas.
Israel and PA are linked because of the fight against the same enemy, Hamas.
If Abbas wants to survive, he must stay in office and must cooperate with Israel. Till now the Israeli police and the IDF don’t recognize him as a real threat. But if PLO is going on inciting against Israel, as they do since some weeks now, with the results of many murdered and maimed inhabitants, they are playing with the fire.
©esther scheiner, israel