By Schmoel Yitzhak
As the settlement freeze countdown expires, what can we learn from all the "peace" attempts of the last days, months and years?
For one thing, the Obama administration's strategy has failed despite cheery homilies from the empty-suit president and his questionably-motivated secretary of state.
For another, all principals on the Arab side of the agenda have pretended that a deal could be cut without Hamas while the latter remains a stronger force than Mahmoud Abbas' PLO gang of pseudo-technocrats.
The absurdity of ignoring Hamas is as ridiculous as assuming that the missiles endlessly fired into Israel from Gaza merely are as harmless as "rockets" purchased at Toys R' Us.
Southern Israel has been "fortunate" for the past month only because most of the rocketry and mortar fire has landed in fields or other relatively harmless places instead of civilian centers. Otherwise the damage could have been horrific.
Then we're confronted with the perfidious statements from Abbas' forced tongue as if these endless Arab assaults never happened.
Try this one on for size: "Even if the peace talks break down, Palestinians won't resort to violence."
As if Monsieur Mahmoud didn't know, Palestinians have CONTINUOUSLY been resorting to violence; peace talks or no peace talks.
On the very day that the Palestinian negotiator made his hypocritical statement noted above, the very same Palestinians committed another of their barbaric acts; a shooting attack against innocent Jews in which one pregnant Israeli woman was wounded.
Then again, one has to wonder whether Abbas' statements have any more value than toy Monopoly money.
For weeks he had proclaiming that he would stalk out of any negotiations with Benjamin Netanyahu if the settlement building freeze was lifted by Bibi.
The Israeli leader called his bluff and now Mahmoud is doing a dance to a different tune.
He has turned his ultimate walk-out decision over to the Arab League rather than follow up on his original -- I'm done -- threat.
But one might ask, why should an Arab League, involving non-democratic nations which have for decades refused to recognize Israel as a legitimate state, have veto power over negotiations which should be conducted -- as the United States had originally agreed -- without pre-conditions?
The answer, quite logically, is negative. It should not. So, what's really going on with the Palestinian game plan?
No doubt, Abbas is buying time.
He's hoping that -- no surprise here! -- that Obama will twist Bibi's arm short of breaking it and, somehow in the next few days, Israel will be forced into some damaging concession, JUST TO BRING THE ARABS BACK TO THE TABLE.
The wish here is that Netanyahu remains strong and not cave if his country's good and welfare is in any way compromised.
What history has taught any objective student of Israel-Palestinian relations is that the Arabs since -- and even long before -- 1948 have been bent on destruction of the Jewish state either overtly or covertly.
Bottom Line: Nothing has changed; just ask the pregnant woman who survived the most recent shooting attack!