A few days ago the Washington Post reported Halt to Palestinian peace talks could become permanent:
In perhaps the shortest round of peace negotiations in the history of their conflict, talks between the Israelis and Palestinians have ground to a halt and show little sign of resuming.
And of course what's to blame?
The proximate cause of the breakdown is Israel's decision not to extend a 10-month partial freeze of settlement building on Palestinian lands, but in the view of many analysts, the problems go much deeper.
If the settlements were really the major obstacle to peace, how come peace did not prevail when Israel destroyed all the settlements in Gaza and evicted more than 8,000 Jews from there? The major obstacle to peace is Iran and radical Muslims who want to destroy Israel, and not make peace with it. They are also threatening to kill any moderate Arab or Muslim who seeks to make peace with Israel.
Finally, our data showed that a majority of Palestinians do not support regional peace efforts. Palestinian internet users often derided diplomatic initiatives; discussion of peace talks was overwhelmingly negative. Thus, despite Washington's efforts to win Palestinian hearts and minds, the social media environment suggests that they have little support for a new peace initiative.
If direct talks fail, 41 percent of Palestinians support the resumption of an armed Intifada, according to a poll released on Thursday by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah.
And it's not just the attitude of the Palestinian population, it's the attitude of their leaders. Barry Rubin wrote about a cartoon in a Palestinian newspaper advocating the destruction of Israel and violent resistance and observed:
Remember, too, this is a PA newspaper. If "President" Mahmoud Abbas wanted to do so, which he doesn't, he could pick up the phone and tell the editor to stop it. We aren't talking about a broad spectrum of permissible belief or free competition of ideas here. Everything in the newspaper is what the PA wants to convey, indeed indoctrinate, its subjects and supporters to believe.
Nor is this a recent phenomenon. It is the continuation of a policy that began in 1968:
In 1968, Israel was still considered the small - but admirable - survivor of a war meant to destroy, waged by the combined forces of much of the Arab world. Israeli were, to the Western world, the "good guys."
It would be a gross understatement to say that this has changed in the intervening years. The entire framework of how Israel is viewed has been turned completely around, by a very successful campaign of de-legitimization that has cumulatively paid off in spades since then.
The blueprint for this sea change in how the world views Israel was written in 1968.
Making Israel into the bad guy; the obstacle to peace and the target of (justified) violence all go back 40 years or more.
So why the push for peace talks? It's not because the Arab world cares. As demonstrated above, the Palesitnians aren't much interested in them. Best I can figure is that it keeps a lot of people employed. (h/t Daled Amos)
Under the arrangement that was described to that Middle East hand, the NSC's Dennis Ross would capitalize on his decent ties with Israel's Bibi Netanyahu to be a main administration point of contact with the Israelis, Indyk would capitalize on his good ties with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (universally referred to as Abu Mazen) to be a channel to the Palestinians, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be in charge.
Indyk, who has served in a consulting role to the team of Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell, professed Tuesday in response to a query that it was the first he had heard of any such plan.
Meantime, the New America Foundation's Steve Clemons said he is convinced that the man who can help Obama bring peace to the Middle East is former President Bill Clinton. That is the spouse of Obama's Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Crossposted on Yourish.Posted by SoccerDad at October 27, 2010 6:10 AM