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Sorry, Dr. Pipes, You're Wrong

Reader comment on item: Ending a Century of Palestinian Rejectionism

Submitted by Shel_TR (Canada), Oct 28, 2015 at 08:20

I am a classical, leftist Zionist (i.e. I love the State of Israel). Still, as disagreeable as I find Pipes' approach to be, I must admit that I am often convinced by his arguments. However, this is not one of those occasions. Pipes is way off-the-mark:

1) He equates the PA with Hamas, which is utterly ridiculous. Hamas has never repudiated its stated goal to eliminate Israel. Hamas actively and passively attacks against Israel. In contrast, the PA provides active security-coordination with Israel.

2) He equates Abbas with Arafat. Arafat duplicitously "negotiated", and then orchestrated Intifadahs. Meantime, Abbas has foresworn violence, and has always very clearly supported non-violent approaches.

3) Admittedly, Pipes is correct to point-out that Palestinian strategic choices have contributed to the immiseration of their own people. However, he (willfully?) ignores the fact that the Palestinians currently have no alternative that provides any hope for any improvement. Israel has, effectively, achieved exactly the "formaldyhyde" that Dov Weisglass intended (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dov_Weissglass). The result is that there really is no political process with the Palestinians, and no strategic choice that offers any hope. Given that reality, does Pipes really believe that any group of people would acquiesce to their opponents' demands?

4) He completely ignores Israel's own rejectionism / intransigence. For years, while Israel (rightly) complained about the absence of a real partner for peace negotiations, concerns were voiced quetioning Israel's own intentions. With Netanyahu's despicable behaviour in the most recent elections (where he irresponsibly fanned the flames of national chauvinism simply for crass political gain), there can be little doubt that Netanyahu has approached the peace negotiations in complete and utter bad-faith.

5) Here's the main evidence that Pipes is wrong: If, indeed, Israel hopes to establish stability, then why are the periods of quiet never accompanied by any serious effort to bolster any alternatives to Hamas and/or terrorism? If Israel wants peace, then Israel must make crystal clear to Palestinians that Hamas' terrorism is to the detriment of Palestininans, AND that a better choice exists. Somewhere in the combination of Marwan Barghouti / Abbas / the PA / etc., Israel must find an alternative and then BACK that alternative. Palestinians must be provided with a clear choice: Nihilistic Islamism / terrorism vs. a secular choice that offers hope. Unquestionably, Oslo's specifics were wrong. However, the strategy of negotiating for genuine improvement is still the best approach. Indeed, genuine negotiation is the only way to ensure that Jewish kids, the the world over, are not enslaved in the same war that exists now.


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