a few helpful hints

As pressure for direct negotiation between Israel and the PA is mounting, President Abbas is running out of excuses. He has been stalling for months refusing to climb down from the tree that President Obama planted last year (“full construction freeze in settlement”). The moratorium on building in the West bank (and unofficially in Jerusalem) is about to end in September. 10 months wasted due to Palestinian refusal to sit down and talk. No doubt Abbas is hopeful that resuming construction in Jewish communities in the West Bank will shift the pressure (and the blame) to Israel. He is also hopeful that with American and European pressure he can obtain concessions from Israel without having to actually give any of his own, ergo his reluctance to sit down face to face.

On September 2nd, Netanyahu and Abbas will sit down to talk. They will talk about borders, settlements, Jerusalem and refugees. They may even reach agreements on some of the issues. However, this conflict is not about tangible things. At the core of the conflict are non-tangible ideas – identity, belonging, honor, recognition.

Israelis have been undergoing fascinating social reconstruction since the late 1980’s (first intifada). A process that took the mainstream Israeli from “there is no such thing as a Palestinian People” to “Two States for Two Nations”. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s declaration last year at Bar Ilan University accepting the two-state solution is a culmination of this process. Indeed, the vast majority of Israelis will tell you they support a two state solution.

This process however, has not been reciprocated on the Palestinian side. Whatever the reason, no Palestinian Leader (who wishes to remain in a position of leadership) or any other Arab leader, can make statements in Arabic and in public accepting Israel’s right to exist as a free, independent and sovereign nation somewhere between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan. This would be in direct contradiction to 62 years of propaganda and vilification of Israel in the Arab world describing Zionists as thieves and usurpers and colonialists. Even today the Palestinian leadership continues with Yasser Arafat’s policy, denying any connection between the Jews and the Temple Mt. in Jerusalem. Since the singing of the Oslo accords, an entire generation of Palestinian children has grown up learning this revised version of history. Why should they make peace with Israel at all?

So, as a public service to President Abbas I would like to offer a few quotes that will help him pass the message onward and actually accept the Jewish people’s connection to the Holy Land.

From the Holy Quran:

Sura 5 verses 21-22

21. And when Musa [Moses] said to his people [Israel]: O my people! remember the favor of Allah upon you when He raised prophets among you and made you kings and gave you what He had not given to any other among the nations.

22. O my people! enter the holy land which Allah has prescribed for you and turn not on your backs for then you will turn back losers.

Sura 7 verses 137 [discussing the exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land]

And We made the people who were deemed weak to inherit the eastern lands and the western ones which We had blessed; and the good word of your Lord was fulfilled in the children of Israel because they bore up (sufferings) patiently;

Sura 10 verse 93 [discussing the events following Pharaoh interaction with Moses]

And certainly We lodged the children of Israel in a goodly abode and We provided them with good things;

Sura 17 verse 104 [after Pharaoh]

And We said to the Israelites after him: Dwell in the land: and when the promise of the next life shall come to pass, we will bring you both together in judgment

Well, you know, I’m just saying…

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