Friday, September 26, 2008

Wishing it were true does not make it true

Nice to hear that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is committed to peace talks with Israel, even as he and other Arab leaders blamed the Jewish state for the delay in reaching a comprehensive settlement of the 5,000-year-old Middle East conflict. In the United States to address the U.N. Security Council, Abbas said Friday that he would continue to talk peace with whomever succeeds Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who resigned earlier this month, according to the Reuters international news service. "Settlement activity is not only an obstacle but it risks undermining the peace process," Abbas said, according to Reuters. But Abbas, in effect a leader without a nation, knows that his complaints about Israel's settlement activity are disingenuous at best. If Israel is going to keep its settlements it any peace deal with the Palestinian Authority, as Israel intends, then building on that territory does not impact the deal. The Palestinian Authority still will get the better of any agreement, since the Palestinians do not have a country now and the Authority cannot even control the territory it does have. Millions of Palestinians have been forced to live in territory controlled by the radical Islamic group Hamas, which advocates the destruction of Israel. It is ridiculous to expect Israel to reach a deal with such people, yet Abbas appears to be incapable of understanding that and regaining control of the Gaza Strip. If the Palestinian Authority really wants peace, it will accept the reality of living alongside Israel. Until it does, there cannot be any agreement.

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