July 13, 2020

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Advising Palestinian leaders to act rationally is supremely irrational




There was an amazing article in Haaretz on Tuesday, written by former Palestinian negotiator Bishara Bahbah .

Bahbah gave advice to Palestinian leadership that is obvious and rational. Which is exactly what makes this article amazing – Arabs usually coddle the Palestinian leaders rather than tell them hard truths.



The Palestinian Refusal to Negotiate With Israel and Trump Is a Cowardly, Fateful Mistake

Besides denunciations and rejection, the Palestinian leadership has nothing else to offer. The Palestinian leadership is in a state of mental paralysis. Depressingly and damagingly, this

Here are eight recommendations for the Palestinian leadership to deliberate – and move forward. Before too much is lost.

You need new blood. The same, failed Palestinian leaders have been leading for the last four decades. Despite their failures, they have either retained their positions or have been promoted.

Do something – or resign. If Fatah’s central committee and the PLO’s executive committee are incapable of making constructive, fateful decisions regarding the future of Palestine, except to say no, then please resign. There are younger Palestinians in their twenties and thirties who are capable of making better calculated and courageous decisions. Those should be the ones in power.

Doing nothing or saying no gives Israel a green light to act. Saying no to the Trump peace plan and/or doing nothing to respond to the proposed plan is tantamount to giving Israel a green light to annex the Jordan Valley come July 2020.

Better deals might not exist. In 2000, 2008, and 2014, the Palestinian Authority refused to accept peace proposals based on a two-state solution formula. There is no perfect peace agreement and there is no just peace agreement. Learn to live with the dictates of life and the realities on the ground. By comparison, those previous peace proposals look very attractive compared to the Trump peace plan. Do not waste the Palestinian people’s lives waiting for a better proposal to present itself. It might never happen!

Reject but provide an alternative, i.e., engage.  President Donald Trump, and his ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, described the Trump peace plan as “a basis for negotiations.” They did not say take it or leave it.

Beware of your own people. The Palestinian political elite are financially comfortable with their monthly stipends, cars, drivers, and, most importantly, their Israeli-issued VIP passes. The rest of the Palestinian people whether in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the refugee camps do not have those luxuries. They are suffering but they see what you, the leaders, have. Be very, very alert to how capable “hungry” people can be.

When have you ever heard a Palestinian say something this rational – especially in Haaretz?

Of course, two days later there is no coverage of this article in Palestinian media – even though they often eagerly translate articles from Haaretz. The reason why this article is ignored is the reason why peace is impossible – because the Palestinian leadership does not want a state nor do they want peace.

Over the past couple of days the Palestinian foreign minister had to deny rumors that he was willing to negotiate with Israel under Russian sponsorship in Moscow. Whether he really said this or not is not important – the fact that he regarded a rumor like that to be so outrageous that he threatens to sue the newspapers that reported it is really the story. The idea of talking to or negotiating with Israel is anathema to Palestinian leaders, which means that they are not interested in any real peace; instead they hope that one day international pressure will force Israel to surrender its own sovereignty.

Peace can only come when Palestinian leaders are willing to face hard truths that might be uncomfortable to them. But they live in a fantasy world where the unassailable logic shown here is not only not heard, but it is forbidden.

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