The fall of the fig leaf in Gaza

June 16, 2007

During just one week, the situation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict became dramatically clarified. The good cop Fatah – bad cop Hamas arrangement which threw sand into the eyes of the Israelis and the Europeans, giving Europeans a pretext to do what they love best –pour money into Palestinian pockets, albeit “bypassing” the Hamas government, and forbidding the Israelis to take effective (that is – military) measures to stop the flow of weapons into the Gaza strip under the Egypt-Gaza border for fear of “undermining the ‘moderate’ Abbas,” is gone.

The fig leaf of mythical peace-seeking, two-state-solution-endorsing, man-of-peace-led Fatah no longer protecting Hamas in Gaza, it will be interesting to see how the parties will change their policies. Will the Europeans stick to keeping their heads in the sand, finding new excuses for providing Palestinians with political and material support, and inventing new formulas for doing so? Will the Israelis now feel free to block the flow of weapons from Gaza by re-taking control of the Philadelpi corridor between Gaza and Egypt, and widening it into miles-wide buffer zone – zone so wide that it would be impossible for the Palestinians to dig weapons-smuggling tunnels under it?

The emerging signs are not encouraging, however. “U.S. wants to fast-track peace talks,” reads a paragraph section in a Haaretz report . “In the wake of the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, the United States said Thursday that the Bush administration will now work to prevent the violence from spilling over to the West Bank. To achieve that, Israel may be urged to make concessions in the West Bank, since the United States aims to accelerate the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to allow Abbas to chalk up some political achievements.”

This shows total lack of understanding of what it is that motivates the Palestinians. They are driven by the belief that they had been wronged, that the cause of destruction of Israel is a righteous one. No amount of concessions on the Israeli side will alleviate this. What is needed is not the pressure on Israel to loose the control on movement in the West bank – this will only result, as we have seen too many times, in the murder of Israelis and re-imposition of the just-lifted road blocks.

Instead, Washington should demand that the Palestinian Authority-run media start explaining to the Palestinians that Arabs wound up in Palestine during Arab campaign of “aggression and occupation,” that Palestine had pre-Arab owners, and so there is nothing wrong with the existence of Israel, and nothing right in trying to destroy it. The stumbling-block in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute being not in the empty Palestinian pocket or stomach, but in the vitiated mind, the first and foremost demand from Washington should be that the Palestinians start fulfilling the key Oslo accord demand – that of changing school textbooks and official media that poison Palestinian mind with unrighteous indignation – unrighteous, for all its self-righteous.

But Washington, perverted by the Iraq experience into deeply unrealistic “realpolitik” attitude, keeps turning away from the obvious, and appears unable to learn. Not even from the fall of Gaza to Hamas.

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