The Palestinian Peace Plan
By Bassam Tawil
Originally Published by the Gatestone Institute.
It is easy to see why Palestinians would be opposed to the US administration’s upcoming plan for peace in the Middle East. The Palestinians do not like what they are hearing about the plan, which has not yet been made public.
Opposing a peace initiative because you do not like its content is one thing. Opposing a peace initiative designed to improve the lives of your people is another thing entirely. The latter defies logic and reveals the disappointing aspects of human nature.
Palestinian hatred of the US administration and President Donald Trump is so intense that the Palestinians are prepared to prolong the misery of their people.
Palestinian leaders care nothing for their people’s ongoing suffering. Give those leaders jobs, money and power, and their people be damned.
Once again, the two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have fallen victim to their leaders’ greed, carelessness and idiocy.
Last week, we witnessed another example of how Palestinian leaders are prepared to fight for their own interests, at the expense of their people, all in order to remain in power and keep the funds flowing to their secret (and sometimes public) bank accounts.
US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, in an op-ed in The Washington Post, announced that the White House would soon host a meeting of “key countries and stakeholders to find real solutions to the problems has caused” in the Gaza Strip.
In other words, the US administration is telling us that it cares about the situation in the Gaza Strip and wants to work with other parties to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians, who for the past 10 years have been suffering under the corrupt and ruthless regime of Hamas.
The US initiative to help the two million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip should have been welcomed by Palestinians leaders. The administration of President Donald Trump is doing something that no Palestinian or Arab leader has done in recent memory: to convene a special meeting on the Gaza Strip in an effort to solve what many Palestinians are calling the “humanitarian and economic crisis” there.
When was the last time the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, convened such a meeting to discuss the plight and suffering of their people in the Gaza Strip? Not only does Abbas not care about his people in the Gaza Strip, he also bears responsibility for the crisis. In the last year, Abbas and his PA government have been imposing a series of sanctions on the Gaza Strip, further aggravating the crisis and suffering of the people. These sanctions, which are aimed at undermining Abbas’s Hamas rivals, include halting payment to electricity supplied by Israel to the Gaza Strip, cutting salaries of thousands of PA civil servants, suspending social assistance to hundreds of families and forcing thousands of public employees into early retirement.
Abbas is hoping that the crisis in the Gaza Strip will drive Palestinians to revolt against Hamas. Abbas still can’t overcome the humiliation he experienced when Hamas expelled his PA and violently seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Abbas wants revenge for being humiliated at the hands of Hamas. He also wants revenge because he believes that Hamas had plotted to assassinate him while he was still living in the Gaza Strip. A former Hamas official who defected is said to have warned Abbas about the alleged assassination attempt.
So Abbas wants to fight Hamas to the last Palestinian in the Gaza Strip. Unsurprisingly, Hamas also appears to be prepared to fight Abbas to the last Palestinian in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas, which for the past 10 years has been holding hostage the two million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip (although many of them voted for the Islamic terror movement in the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election), is not prepared to make any concessions to Abbas and his PA government to ease the crisis.
Hamas is not prepared to dismantle its military wing or relinquish security control over the Gaza Strip. Hamas is not prepared to distance itself from Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah. Hamas is not prepared to renounce terrorism and violence nor is it prepared to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Hamas has one course of action, which it follows with full force and energy: to destroy Israel and kill as many Jews as possible.
Let’s return to the American initiative to seek ways to alleviate the anguish of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Who were the first to repudiate this humanitarian initiative?” Could it be Israel? Nope. Israel was and remains the only country that has been seeking solutions to the crisis in the Gaza Strip. Hint: it was Abbas’s PA and Hamas, each of whom rejected it for its own purposes and interests.
While Israel’s top Ministry of Defense official, Major-General Yoav Mordechai, has been holding meetings with United Nations Special Coordinator for Peace in the Middle East, Nikolay Mladenov, to discuss ways of reducing the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza Strip, Abbas and his Hamas rivals continue to launch accusations about each side’s responsibility for the suffering. Abbas blames Hamas for the “humanitarian crisis,” while Hamas says it’s Abbas and his government that are inflicting the suffering because of the sanctions they imposed on the Gaza Strip.
Not only are Hamas and Abbas wholly shirking their responsibility to their people, they also are prepared to foil any attempt by outsiders, in this case the US, to work towards ending the crisis in the Gaza Strip. Why would any Palestinian or Arab reject an offer by anyone, even if it were the devil himself, to extend an arm of help to Palestinians in dire need?
The answer, again, is twofold: First, Hamas and Abbas are too busy ripping each other to shreds over money and power to take notice of their people’s misery. Second, the two Palestinian parties actively desire a continuation of the crisis: it enables them to rake Israel over the coals at various international forums. The relationship between Abbas and Hamas is bad on an epic scale, but when it comes to incitement against Israel, they are best buddies.
The Hamas and PA officials are even spelling this argument out in their rejection of the US initiative to improve the lives of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Dismissing the initiative, Ahmed Majdalani, a top Abbas aide in Ramallah, said: “The US knows very well that Israel is the main reason behind the Gaza tragedy.”
Majdalani deserves an award for being a professional liar. This is the man representing the president and government that continue to impose severe sanctions on the Gaza Strip and its residents. Yet, it’s more comfortable for Abbas and his cronies to continue blaming Israel and lying to the international community. Unfortunately, we are facing an international community that is often quick to swallow any lie or fabrication coming from the Palestinians.
So the PA does not want to resolve the crisis, nor does it want anyone else — like the Americans — to help. The PA doesn’t like Trump or his ideas for peace in the Middle East. But what does that have to do with the “economic and humanitarian crisis? Why should this hatred or dislike prompt the PA to reject any attempt by Westerners to help its own people?
Consider, for a moment, what Hamas and Islamic Jihad are also saying about the US initiative on the Gaza Strip. The position of the two terror groups is strikingly similar to that of Abbas and his PA; they too want to continue using the crisis to rally the world against Israel. In separate statements, the groups said that Washington’s effort to help the Palestinians was designed to “exempt” Israel from its responsibilities.
These are the same terror groups that have turned the lives of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip into hell. These are the groups that have brought war and death and destruction upon the people of the Gaza Strip by attacking Israel again and again and again. These are the groups that prefer to import weapons rather than food and medicine into the Gaza Strip. These are the groups that are suppressing and killing Palestinians in the Gaza Strip whose only crime is to demand reform and democracy and a better life.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad are no different from Abbas when it comes to their hatred of the US. Their hatred runs so deep that they would rather die than accept a remedy from the US. Not to mention the massively useful pawn that suffering Palestinians are in the popular and longstanding game of tarring and feathering Israel for the Palestinian leadership’s own crimes against its people.
All these Palestinian parties share a common goal: to see Israel removed from the face of earth. In their eyes, the incitement against Israel falls into the general framework of delegitimizing Israel. They believe that this process serves their goal of eliminating Israel. Meanwhile, babies and other patients in the Gaza Strip continue to die because of lack of medicine.
More than half of the Gaza population lives under the poverty line. But, for the Machiavellian Palestinian leadership, the end justifies the means: tens of thousands of Palestinians can and will be sacrificed on the way to killing Jews and destroying Israel.
Palestinian leaders don’t care about their own people so why should they care about peace with Jews?
The only peace plan the Palestinians would ever accept is one that facilitates their mission of destroying Israel and killing all the Jews living in the region. They will never accept another plan, even if it comes from Prophet Muhammad.
Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.