Yesterday’s meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PLO terror boss Mahmoud Abbas and its immediate aftermath makes it painfully obvious why peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority need to be called off.
Every clear-thinking observer has been noting for months how ridiculous it is for Israel to negotiate with Abbas, while a Hamas still unswervingly dedicated to Israel’s destruction is the one that decides whether or not any deals he makes are actually implemented.
Abbas’ promise to Olmert on Sunday to release abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, and Hamas’ reaction to that commitment is just a preview of how the entire “peace” process will play out under these circumstances.
Abbas assured Olmert that Shalit will be freed before the official formation of a unity government with Hamas. In other words, Shalit should be home with his family within the week. That is, if Abbas could be trusted or actually had any power to follow through on his promises.
But he doesn’t. Hamas is holding the reins. And Hamas spokesman Rezi Hamed made perfectly clear on Monday that the terror group has no intention of honoring any commitments made by Abbas that it does not feel fall in line with its interests.
So why in the world is Israel negotiating with Abbas? Why is it being forced to accept (or willing to accept) Abbas as the “negotiating component” of the new Palestinian government if he is unable to actually carry through on what he says?
Of course, this is how the entire peace process has progressed until now. The Palestinian leadership makes promises, and then either fails to honor them or does the exact opposite.
Israel has accepted that reality for so long that I guess the only thing left is to pick the most nicely dressed Palestinian with which to participate in photo-ops.
Fortunately, a ground swell is forming among an Israeli public that is finally beginning to understand just how deeply it has been betrayed by those more interested in signing worthless scraps of paper than pursuing real peace.
According to a recent poll, a firm 56% majority of Israelis say the internationally-backed “two-state solution” to the conflict is simply not workable with the current Palestinian leadership.
It is high time the international community, and Washington in particular, starts to respect Israel’s national interests as defined by Israel itself.
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