On Peres, Peace -- and No Peace
If we put aside the timing (three weeks before the elections) and the identity of the speaker (President Shimon Peres), we are left only with the content of the claim: "It is possible to reach a peace agreement with PA President Mahmoud Abbas."
If such is the case, perhaps, Mr. President, you can explain why there isn't already a signed peace deal? At Camp David in 2000, Yasser Arafat rejected prime minister Ehud Barak's peace offer.
US president Bill Clinton blamed Arafat for the failure of the talks, and just recently his merry widow, Suha, has admitted what was already known: Arafat planned the wave of terrorism that followed Camp David.
Okay, the naive will say, but that was Arafat, the terrorist chief with a shameful reputation; now we have Abbas.
Well, what happened between Abbas and prime minister Ehud Olmert at the Annapolis negotiations in 2007? In a recent interview with Smadar Perry - a reporter for Yediot Aharonot - Abbas claimed that Israel and the Palestinians were on the verge of signing an agreement, and it was only the early elections called in Israel that prevented the long-yearned-for signing of peace accords.
I am trying to find a civilized way to express myself while being faithful to the facts of the matter, but there is no other way to say it: Abbas is lying.
The talks took place in November 2007, Ehud Olmert resigned almost a year later, and the elections were held in 2009. A peace agreement was not agreed to because Abbas turned down Olmert's exceedingly generous offer.
However, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cannot make the same offers made by Barak and Olmert. They both proposed more than the Israeli public is ready to accept, and more than Israel can allow itself to concede. Abbas rejected Olmert's offer, so there is no way he can strike a peace deal with Netanyahu.
It's simple and certain. Every attempt to sit down and reach agreement on the issues under dispute - Jerusalem, refugees, borders, etc. - has failed, time after time.
President Peres can make endless speeches about nanotechnology, embrace Mark Zuckerberg, and appear to be innovative and expansive in his views, but his proposal to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians is tantamount to suggesting that we return to using the Zeppelin airships again.
The Zeppelins were not that successful back then, and one even exploded. Exactly like Peres's solutions for accommodating the Palestinians.
The whole idea, to manage to make a pact with Abbas quickly, before Hamas takes over the West Bank, is ridiculous. Abbas doesn't have the courage to reach an agreement, and he has no legitimacy with his own people.
The Palestinian public is not prepared to accept concessions by its leaders, something that is necessary for successful negotiations.
Each side has to make concessions.
We need time and calm. Both sides can be creative - the Palestinians can establish a state in the so-called Area A (Palestinian-controlled territory) and not give up on their dreams.
The Palestinians can dream about the refugees returning, and the Western Wall, and anything they else they want to.
And we will stay where we are, life will continue, and 20 years will pass. In the meantime, perhaps the shaky regime in Jordan will fall and the Palestinians can have a really big state - the whole of Jordan and Area A - and everyone will be happy.
Even the king and his family might feel safer and have a stronger sense of belonging in their home in London.
Let the Palestinians prove that their goal is a state for their own people, rather than what it appears to be now: The destruction of Israel.