Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bayann Hamid: Right About One Thing

This is a response to a column entitled "Obama is right on Israeli settlements," distributed by and published in a number of outlets, including the New Britain Herald.

In his op-ed published July 25, Bayann Hamid may be right about the lack of legitimacy of the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, but he's right about little else.

Only in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict could a Holocaust denier like Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, his nom de guerre, be considered "moderate."

Since the start of the Oslo Process, Israel has made extraordinary concessions and at least twice offered to help establish another Palestinian Arab state including almost all of the disputed territories, yet Abbas' basic demands are indistinguishable from the outlandish ones made by Yasser Arafat sixteen years ago.

Abbas is now refusing to even negotiate with Israel unless our democratic friend first begins the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the disputed territories by ending all construction, including within areas all reasonable people recognize will be incorporated into Israel under any conceivable agreement.

The heart of the Palestinian Arab-Israeli part of the more general Arab-Israeli conflict remains the refusal of the Palestinian Arabs and their leadership, including the so-called "moderates" like Abu Mazen, to place their own welfare above their hatred of Israel.

Efforts to achieve peace which fail to deal with that reality, particularly those centered on pressuring Israel into making even more one-sided concessions, are not only doomed to failure but counterproductive. As much as Israel yearns for peace, it needs a partner willing, even reluctantly, to make peace.

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