Following up on the story Eli Lake first broke in the Washington Times last week, the Wall Street Journal reports today the American effort to pressure Israel into more concessions to the Palestinians is being joined by the European Union.
President Obama is still demanding Israel accept the 1967 lines as the starting point for future peace negotiations with the Palestinians, a point he made in his Middle East policy speech last month and which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected. The Americans want Israel to give in on this point to entice the Palestinians to give up their effort to bypass peace talks by asking the United Nations to endorse a Palestinian state without requiring it to make peace or recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state.
Now the EU is chiming in with a plan for its own peace framework that will be even more favorable to the Palestinians. Like Obama, the EU is putting the entire onus for the restarting of negotiations on Israel rather than on the Palestinians, who are the ones who abandoned the talks in the first place. Neither Obama nor the EU is making any demands for concessions on the Palestinians, such as their insistence on a “right of return” for the descendants of 1948 refugees whose intent is to destroy Israel.
While the Journal report acknowledges the Palestinians’ UN strategy is a dead end, it says the U.S. believes the failure of the effort will lead to Palestinian violence and more assaults on Israel’s borders such as the ones that took place on the anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence, known as “Nakba,” or disaster day in the Arab and Muslim world. But rather than call the Palestinians’ bluff on both the UN gambit and the threat of more violence, the Obama administration is seeking to appease them.
The premise of both the American and EU approaches to the problem is entirely wrong. The Palestinians are going to the UN specifically because they don’t want to sign a peace agreement with Israel even if it brings them an independent state. Had they wanted such a state, they could have had one three times in the last 11 years when Israel offered them one. Even more to the point, the unity agreement signed by the PA’s ruling Fatah faction with Hamas renders discussion of a peace deal moot.
Rather than attempting to muscle Israel to give away its only bargaining chips — territory — prior to the start of theoretical talks, the United States should make it clear to the PA if it goes to the UN and follows through on plans to create a new coalition government with Hamas, it will forfeit the Western aid that keeps the corrupt authority going. Western attempts to bribe the Palestinians to behave will be met, as they have always been, with contempt and failure.