Naturally there has been a lot of talk and analysis of the speeches by Abbas and Netanyahu at the United Nations last week. The following letter from a friend of mine sums up the reactions of so many.
What is it about “Let's sit down and talk” that Mahmud Abbas doesn't understand?
He gives a tear-jerker speech to the UN laden with all of the politically correct jargon:
Democracy (never mind the fact that he hasn't allowed elections for the last two years because he's afraid he'll be booted out of office).
The colonial occupiers (never mind the fact that Jews have a historical claim to the Land of Israel that goes back 2,500 years).
The plight of refugees (never mind the fact that more than 850,000 Jews who had lived in Arab countries for centuries were evicted from their homes when Israel was established).
In the wake of this speech, the Quartet then proposes that the Israelis and Palestinians meet within a month with an agenda for talks.
The prime minister of Israel says Yes. What does Abbas say? What the Palestinians have always said. "No".
That No is just another is a series of Nos that began in Khartoum in September 1967 when, at an Arab League summit, a resolution was issued calling for "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it."
In 2000, Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Agreements that would have established a Palestinian state. When the terms were about to be implemented, what did the Palestinians say? No.
In 2008, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza with the goal of moving toward the establishment of a Palestinian state. What did the Palestinians say? No.
This is beginning to sound like a scenario in a marriage counselor's office. One spouse drags the other to therapy. When prompted to talk about the problems between them, the second spouse folds his or her hands and says, No.
Why? Because deep down, the second spouse doesn't want the marriage to work. He or she wants the spouse to just get out of the house and leave it, all of its furnishings, and the bank account to him or her.
Deep down, what Abbas wants is not independent ownership of part of the house.
He wants the whole thing.