Sunday, March 9, 2008
The predictable bombast from the Palestinian Authority about Israel's decision to build 750 homes in a settlement near Jerusalem says more about the Palestinian's idea of peace than it does about Israel's. Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned the decision to revive plans for the homes at the Giva Ze'ev settlement and said it would "undermine" negotiations on a settlement expected to restart this week. But the talks are doomed to failure anyway unless the Palestinians drop their ridiculous demands and agree to accept the realities of the political situation they find themselves in. It is patently absurd to the Palestinian Authority to insist on sovereignty over East Jerusalem and the right of refugees to return to Israel; such demands are serious only in that they are designed to derail negotiations. A country with no economy that has lost the respect of its own citizens is lucky to still have a seat at the bargaining table; it is no position to make outrageous demands. If Abbas has any sense, he would take what he can get and set up a country for his people. This gives him a seat at the United Nations, a pass into world capitals and massive amounts of foreign aid. Then, he can use some of the money to redesign the curriculum in the Palestinian education system and stop teaching children to hate the United States and Israel. Where else are these militants coming from? Palestinian businesspeople know prosperity is at the end of the path to peace. The talks were suspended last week after Israel launched an offensive against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip suspected of almost daily rocket barrages into the Jewish state's southernmost cities. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas agreed this week to return to the talks after a visit from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, before a Palestinian gunman killed eight Jewish students in an attack on a Jerusalem religious school.