dinsdag 2 juni 2009

Waarom is de Palestijnse Authoriteit van Abbas niet gematigd?

Ik ben het niet met ieder woord van Barry Rubin eens, maar veel van zijn kritiek op de New York Times komt overeen met de kritiek die ik heb op NRC Handelsblad of de Volkskrant. Overigens is het commentaar van de NYT bepaald genuanceerd vergeleken bij de commentaren van de NRC.

Why Isn't the Palestinian Authority Moderate? Why don't Arab Leaders Obey the New York Times?

So dreadful was the performance of Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas during his meeting with President Barack Obama that even the New York Times took notice. Usually, the Palestinians are exempt from any hint of the real world criteria applied to others.

But according to the May 30, Times editorial, the meeting was "a reminder of how much the Palestinians and leading Arab states, starting with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, must do to help revive foundering peace negotiations."

The peace negotiations, of course, foundered almost a decade ago when then PA leader Yasir Arafat rejected a two-state solution, an historical fact that the Times and much of the Western political elite seems not yet to have absorbed. Indeed, it was that very fact that has led to the failure of any peace process and all the bloodshed since.

Naturally, given its peculiar view of the world, the Times cannot quite blame anyone but Israel and George W. Bush for this failure:

"We have sympathy for Mr. Abbas, the moderate-but-weak leader of the Fatah party. Israel, the Bush administration and far too many Arab leaders have failed to give him the support that he needs to make the difficult compromises necessary for any peace deal."

This is the kind of paragraph by the way that should lead to reflection by anyone who was actually serious and not blinded by the strange brew that passes for the dominant ideology in Western intellectual circles nowadays. It is after all a set of beliefs which insists that Abbas—who wrote a doctoral dissertation denying that the Holocaust happened and prefers demanding all Palestinians can go live in Israel even if this stance prevents them from getting their own independent state—is better than Netanyahu. Abbas is branded "moderate" while Netanyahu is always called hardline.

Exactly what has Abbas done as the PA leader to be considered moderate, or at least moderate except in comparison to Hamas? If he had his way, he would make a deal with Hamas which would make him behave a lot more like Hamas rather than having Hamas become moderate.

At least, the Times added on this occasion: "That's no excuse, however, for the depressing passivity that Mr. Abbas displayed" in calling for the United States to wait until Hamas joined his government or Netanyahu made concessions for nothing in return.

It is somewhat humorous that while Netanyahu has been unfairly and inaccurately blasted for supposedly refusing to talk with the Palestinians it is the Palestinians who openly refuse to talk to Israel.

At any rate, there's nothing funnier than a newspaper editorial writer telling a dictator that he "must" do something. But why, why is Abbas so passive? Why doesn't Abbas do what the Times wants:

"He must keep improving those forces. He must redouble efforts to halt the constant spewing of hatred against Israel in schools, mosques and media. He must work harder to weed out corruption. Unless Mr. Abbas's government does more to improve the lives of Palestinians it will surely lose again to Hamas in elections scheduled for January."

Those elections won't be held at all, of course, for precisely that reason. But suppose Israel gives up land and authority to Abbas, he doesn't mend his ways, and then Hamas--as the Times warns could well happen--takes over an independent state so as to wage warfare against Israel all the more effectively and on two fronts?

The Times might spare a moment to consider that possibility. Israeli leaders must do so: U.S. leaders should do so.

Read the rest of this article on Rubin's report: Why Isn't the Palestinian Authority Moderate? Why don't Arab Leaders Obey the New York Times?

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