by Bassam Tawil
December 28, 2014 at 5:00 am
Listening, in both English and Arabic, to the latest speeches of Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas and his fellow Fatah Central Committee members, we get the uncomfortable feeling that the Palestinian State, now being promoted in Europe, will not only be a threat to the stability of the entire region, but to us who have to keep living here, as well to those countries in Europe who promote it.
As Palestinians discuss among themselves -- far from the diplomats in their five-star hotels -- rather than accept this "gift" that Europe seems determined to push down our throats, many people increasingly see no choice but to launch a "Palestinian Spring" revolution. It would not be, as you might think, to rid them of Israel but finally to rid us of our wretched leadership and corrupt system of government -- and to stop the European counties that are imposing this brutal system on us by financing it.
We have been fortunate enough to see from Israel how a democracy works. So although a Palestinian Spring revolution might cause chaos in the region and elsewhere for a while, its chances of success are far more assured than in the other places in the Middle East, where it has been tried but has not always succeeded.
Palestine is here, exactly where it always was. It has been lived in for 4000 years, by Arabs, Christians, Jews and anyone else who showed up. The Roman Emperor Hadrian called it Iudaea. Later, in 135 CE, the Romans renamed it Syria Palaestina in an attempt to sever all connection to it by the Jews. It was part of the Ottoman Empire until its dissolution in 1918, then called Palestine again under the British Mandate. After Israel's war of Independence in 1948, it was and still is called Israel.
There never has been a Palestinian state. Ever. The West Bank was Jordanian, the Golan Heights were Syrian and the Gaza Strip was Egyptian.
The truth is that PA President Mahmoud Abbas has been trying to turn the State of Israel into the State of Palestine. He has been trying to create confusion in Europe and at the UN -- evidently, unfortunately, with some success. He has been falsely accusing Israel of committing "genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Regardless of the fabricated numbers issued by Hamas, more than half of the 2,000 Gazans killed over the summer were Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist operatives, not "innocent civilians." It was Hamas that ordered its own people onto the roofs of apartment buildings in Gaza while Gazans were firing rockets, mortars and missiles into Israel. It was Hamas that used its own people as human shields to prevent Israel from being able to defend itself, or, when it did, so there would be more Palestinian "dead babies" to show to the intimidated television crews, to make Israelis look villainous.
It is Hamas that expresses in both its charter and daily statements the intention of committing genocide on the Jews -- not the Israelis, the Jews.
Abbas has also been calling for a "peaceful popular resistance" against the Israelis, by "using all available means" within "international law" -- courtesy of Europe. "The Palestinian resistance," evokes brave Frenchmen daring to attack Nazis, not Palestinian terrorists driving cars into people, emerging from tunnels to kill and kidnap kindergarteners, or slaughtering old men while they are praying.
The truth is that Mahmoud Abbas' appeals to world leaders are to help him circumvent the Israeli government, peace negotiations and legally binding peace agreements, all in order to achieve a Palestinian state unilaterally -- without having to recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people and without reaching a final status agreement with it.
If I were Israeli, I would understand that when Mahmoud Abbas says he wants a safe passage between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, as well as full control of air and sea lanes, he means he wants to receive arms from Iran without interference.
So, are we actually accusing the Jews of "genocide" while it is we who are striving kill all of them and drive them "into the sea"? Are the Europeans actually buying this nonsense? We all ask ourselves: If Europeans like to feel so righteous about themselves, then why are they acting as the accomplices and accessories to criminals? Does that not make them criminals, too?
It is Abbas, who, instead of distancing himself from Hamas's ISIS-like dreams of establishing an Islamic Emirate on the ruins of Israel, has yoked himself to the same Islamist terrorist ideology. He and his close associates are not only trying to sidestep negotiations to which both sides committed themselves in the 1995 Oslo II Accords, but they daily keep whipping up violence. He also clearly seems to be to be hoping that European countries and the United Nations will recognize Palestine as a state even before it promises to end the daily violence, which now will be funded even more lavishly, thanks to the new Palestinian rapprochement with the major funders of terror, Qatar and Iran.
On the contrary, it is we, the Palestinians, who for decades have been calling for the destruction of the "Zionist entity" and for driving the Jews into the sea. Some of us still act to achieve that aim.
The current leadership here, of course, has, as usual, been seeking to turn these feelings of rising anger and frustration against Israel. But increasingly the people here see through that and keep talking about the literally hundreds of millions of euros a year the Europeans are giving to the leadership and politicized so-called "human rights charities" to keep it that way.
Here, people are now saying that the real problem is not Israel and, certainly -- laughably -- not the lack of a peace accord, as much as the Americans, like Neville Chamberlain 1938, might like to have one to wave at gullible viewers.
Israel is tough, yes, but has largely been fair -- more than one can say for other countries in the region. Israel, so long as it is not provoked, has been a remarkably decent neighbor. Not everything is perfect by far -- there are problems and have been unspeakably savage revenge attacks by a few Israelis here and there. But those have always been exceptions, and have always been severely condemned and punished by the Israelis, not celebrated and glorified, as with the Palestinian leadership.
It is to this Palestinian leadership whom these European leaders would like to abandon us: a government that not one of them would want to live under for a day.
ISIS operatives are already in the Sinai Peninsula, planning how to take over Egypt, and with their eyes set on Libya.
Is this really what the Europeans want?
Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East