Monday, September 27, 2010


By Schmoel Yitzhak

Following the Middle East news, I often am uncertain whether to laugh or cry over stories related to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

The latest -- no surprise here -- are reactions to Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to end the settlement-building freeze.

Imagine the nerve of President Obama's government expressing "disappointment" over Bibi's move.

If anyone deserves on merit to be the target of Uncle Barack's "disappointment" it should be the direct cause of it -- Mahmoud Abbas who knows only how to make demands but never concessions.

Consider the following:

Against the advice of many his advisors -- while at the same time under extreme American pressure -- Israel's prime minister agreed to the building freeze nine months ago.

He did so to inspire Palestinian negotiators to get serious about peace talks; to move back to face-to-face exchanges; to deal with knotty issues.

By all standards, nine months appeared to grant each side enough time to grapple with -- if not solve -- problems that have for decades been detouring any peaceful results.

Obama asked for nine months and Bibi made the concession for any number of reasons but, mostly, to move the process ahead.

Netanyahu made it abundantly clear that he was prepared to make dramatic and not exactly welcome -- to his supporters -- concessions. That's part of the give and take leading to compromise.

Over three-quarters of a year, a lot could have been accomplished if two heads of state regularly convened with the mutual goal of accomplishing something -- anything!

In response to Israel's settlement freeze concession, Abbas did the three things that he does best:

1. Nothing.

2. Nothing, while ripping the Israelis with the most vile forms of propaganda.

3. Nothing, until finally awakening at the eleventh-hour in time to issue pre-conditions certain to scuttle the negotiations before they ever began.

"The Palestinians had no real, good intentions," says Avigor Lieberman, and he is as right as right can be.

Had the intentions been reasonable, Abbas & Co. would have been at the negotiating table nine months ago; and that brings us right back to the classic Abba Eban bromide, "The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity!"

That said, why in Heaven's name would Obama, Sarkozi or any of the other supposedly fair-minded world leaders castigate Israel when it was the Arabs who refused to accept the freeze for nine months?

Well, we all know the answer to that, don't we.

Given the opportunity, the so-called "civilized world" would rip the Israeli's for inhaling were there no other issues to irresponsibly beef about.

How come the Palestinians are able to elude criticism when the only concession they are able to produce after nine months of thumb-twiddling is a willingness to come to negotiations -- maybe?

Now we're told that the Arab League will decide whether talks will resume but -- you can be sure -- only after it forces Obama to wring even more concessions out of Netanyahu.

For nine months the Palestinians did nothing -- zilch! -- and their reward is having Israel illogically slapped around by democracies who still can't determine right from wrong.

Now you know why I can't decide whether to laugh or cry over this upside-down logic exhibited by Israel's so-called ally.

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