Tuesday, December 10, 2013

10-Dec-13: Can Kerry and his State Department colleagues not hear what's being said clearly in Arabic?

Say what you will about Hamas and Islamic Jihad; the murdering
terror-addicted jihadists understand the media, and
make themselves well understood to anyone
willing to make the effort [Image Source]
John Kerry, US Secretary of State, plans to be back in Jerusalem tomorrow, Wednesday. In some ways, it feels like he just left. In fact, his previous visit ended just a couple of days ago.

Perhaps he's returning so quickly because things are going so well with his plan to resolve the conflicts and bring respite and comfort to the people of the area.

So to be a little less disingenuous: that's actually not at all what we think is being achieved. We have written here frequently about how the facts are at such odds with the man's rhetoric. So why is he coming? A report this morning says that he
will be looking to build on a visit last week, after which he proclaimed that the sides were “closer to peace than we’ve been in years”... [Times of Israel]
Closer to peace then we have been for years? If only.

It's not that we don't want him to succeed. People like us - ordinary citizens who have tasted the extreme bitterness of terrorism - are, almost universally, among the most eager supporters of intelligent, peace-creating strategies, and not only here in Israel.

The problem is we don't see anything remotely resembling peace appearing on the horizon. We're baffled by the State Department strategy under Kerry that has heavy-handedly induced Israel to free convicted murdering terrorists as if their release somehow supplied what was missing on the road to peaceful relations. Whatever few doubts people had ought to have been permanently put to rest when we witnessed these petty and pathetic killers being lionized by Mahmoud Abbas and his PA/Fatah ruling clique. If you missed the analysis, see "30-Oct-13: The bogus manufacture of heroes and legends".

So much for how we outsiders view things. But what about inside the world of the Palestinian Arabs? Are they getting a message that will help them overcome their leadership's worship of the men who stick knives into the backs of elderly Jews and who shoot randomly at fast-moving Israeli cars?

The well-informed and insightful Arab/Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh offers an analysis today on theGatestone Institute website that looks at what Kerry and co. seem not to be able to see or hear going on among the Palestinian Arabs. Abu Toameh's focus is on what is being communicated to the Arab world in Arabic.

A rational observer might think it is precisely that channel which can throw light on the progress Arab leaders are making in bringing their people along towards the changes that peace demands. As Abu Toameh shows, to think this is to make a huge mistake. The main elements of his argument:

  • Mahmoud Abbas, whatever we might think of his politics or true intentions, has no control over the Gaza Strip and its 1.8 million people. That's been ruled with a tight and violent fist by the avowed terrorists of Hamas since 2007. So any agreement Abbas signs with Israel, if we ever get to that point, is going to apply at best to those parts of the West Bank where the PA has power. This excludes Gaza. 
  • Mahmoud al-Zahar, a key Hamas figure, puts it about as clearly as a person would ever need things to be explained: "The Palestinians are not bound by any agreement that results from the current negotiations... and which harm Palestinian rights... The Palestinian negotiators have no legitimacy and are not authorized to speak on behalf of the Palestinians." Clear enough?
  • Of course, it's not only Hamas. The PLO, which groups together the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine among others, opposes the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
  • Other Palestinian Arab terrorist groups from outside the PLO, such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad, are also against.
  • What the Kerry people seem to either not understand or trivialize is this, quoting Abu Toameh: "In the future, Hamas and the other rejectionist groups will say that Abbas did not have a mandate from his people to sign an agreement with Israel... Kerry needs to take into account that any peace agreement will not put an end to the conflict."
  • Why is anyone on the Palestinian side even paying lip-service to Kerry's peace mission? Abu Toameh provides an eminently practical answer via a quote from al-Zahar of Hamas: Abbas and his Fatah cronies "are negotiating with Israel only because of American pressure and to ensure continued Western funding for the Palestinian Authority." 
  • He brings other voices from within the Abbas-controlled Fatah to say the same thing: Dr. Sufian Abu ZaidaHussam Khader from Abbas' own Fatah organization, and Mohammed Dahlan among them.
Does all of this mean anything? Yes, and Abu Toameh - who knows about these things - sums it up with clarity:
Hamas and its Palestinian allies will in any case never accept Israel's right to exist. So even if Abbas today gets 100% of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem to establish a Palestinian state, Hamas, which represents a substantial part of the Palestinian population, will continue to fight to "liberate the rest of Palestine"... Kerry needs to listen to these voices and take them into account as he continues to talk about a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It is not enough to listen to what Abbas and chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat are telling him in English. Kerry needs to listen to what Hamas and other groups are saying in Arabic. [Times of Israel]
Of course this is depressing and unwelcome. But the real question needs to be: is it smarter, more peace-friendly, to live in a pretend reality?

No one can blame Hamas and their fellow jihadists for hiding the truth of their plans and intentions. They're quite open about their passion for war and bloodshed. To understand, people just have to be willing to make the effort to understand the language in which the message is communicated to the Palestinian Arab ranks. And, naturally, to have an open mind free of ideological preconceptions.

No comments: