Friday, December 15, 2017

Palestinian Grifters

Kevin Williamson does not run America’s foreign policy. Yet, considering the bumbling ineptitude of the current Secretary of State, we could do worse than Kevin Williamson.

Yesterday, Williamson offered a sage analysis of the Arab-Israeli situation, in particular, of the Palestinian reaction to President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. I confess that Williamson’s view closely mirrors my own… to its eternal credit.

As one might have expected Trump’s decision has elicited the usual bout of impotent rage from Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas. Apparently, he has the received the full support of Turkish President Erdogan, but beyond that the response has been tepid.

Even though he has no cards to play, Abbas is happy to play them. So he has declared that the United States can no longer be part of the non-existent peace negotiations. Williamson explains:

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas says he will no longer accept a role for the United States in the ongoing Arab–Israeli peace negotiations, which have produced little in the way of negotiation and nothing in the way of meaningful peace.

If President Abbas desires to end diplomatic relations with the United States, the United States should think seriously about obliging him.

There were apocalyptic intimations, but in reality the response was more or less what one would expect, and if the Olympic committee ever recognizes rock-throwing as a legitimate sport, the Palestinian people will finally have found their national calling.

This is a familiar and tedious piece of performance art. The Palestinian statelet is in no way viable, and the Palestinian cause is less and less useful to the Islamic powers with each passing year. … and the Palestinian cause has in no small part devolved from instrument of civilizational conflict to instrument of ordinary grift, a phony jihad used to fortify the alliance between fanatics and financial interests that is the default model of government throughout much of the Muslim Middle East.

Performance art… grifting… a cause that has outlived its usefulness. Check, check, check.

Of course, the greatest fiction of them all is the peace process:

Whatever sympathy one may feel for the Palestinian people themselves, their leaders and the leaders of their allies are not good-faith negotiating partners and are not likely to become good-faith negotiating partners. It is difficult to negotiate a lasting peace when one side does not want peace at all.

How best to deal with this situation. Williamson is right here. Surely, our State Department will recoil in horror, but in truth we should stop our indirect support of the Palestinian Authority. Who, with a brain, supports a terrorist group that despises it?

…the United States should consider accommodating President Abbas’s demand and stepping away from the situation for a while, taking our aid money with us. If President Abbas must have his obstinacy and his cheap theatrics, then let him pay the full price for them. Let’s see how much loose change Erdogan can scramble up from the cushions of his ottoman. The haul is likely to be disappointing.

As a sidelight, we turn to an important reaction to Trump’s announcement about Jerusalem. This time, from the government of India. As it happened, the Indian government of Narendra Modi issued a perfunctory statement that it was not very happy, but that was all.

Al-jazeera has the story. For its part it does not like this turn in Indian-Israeli relations:

India's two-sentence response to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital last week elicited mixed reactions after New Delhi for decades strongly backed the Palestinian cause….

Anguished, Al-Jazeera recounts the thaw in relations between India and Israel. As it happens, we have pointed this out on this very blog:

India-Israel ties have flourished since a ground-breaking trip by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July this year. Modi's predecessors had kept Israel at arm's length with New Delhi being a vocal supporter of the Palestinians.

Modi, however, has spoken of his personal affinity for Israel and his visit to the country before he became prime minister. He pointedly missed visiting Ramallah this year, the seat of the Palestine Authority and a customary stop for visiting leaders trying to maintain a balance in political ties.

But Sreeram Chaulia, dean at the Jindal School of International Affairs, said India's evolving ties with Israel are based on pragmatism.

"I don't think the fact that we are increasing our strategic cooperation with Israel should in any way come at the expense of the Palestinians. Our cooperation is based on pragmatic mutual benefit," Chaulia told Al Jazeera.

"We are independent, not influenced by outsiders. Similarly on this issue, we have an embassy of Palestine in Delhi. India is a major contributor to the Palestinian authority and its institutions… If India was a major political player in the Middle East, we would have been forced to take a stand, but we are not."

India and Israel have deep military ties. In 2017, India signed two arms deals, spending $2.6bn on Israeli missile defence systems.

So, the Indian government does not want to hurt the delicate feelings of the Palestinians. But, it is more interested in doing business with Israel. Can you blame it?

Besides, I have heard tell that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will be the honored guest of the Narendra Modi at Indian Independence Day celebrations.


Sam L. said...

As someone well known once said, the Palestinians "never miss a chance to miss a chance". The Pali "leaders and authorities" seem only to want to maintain their rule over the masses so as to keep most of the money flowing in. Kleptocrats, one and all.
(Cynicism is unavoidable.)

trigger warning said...

Re Ergodan: Turkey should be ejected from the NATO airlock. They are not an ally anymore, and exposing classified NATO information about military and technological matters is risky - and stupid - in the extreme.

KW: "Whatever sympathy one may feel for the Palestinian people themselves..."

Wkhich, in my case, is zero sympathy. They got precisely what they voted for, just like the Swedes, Germans, French, and British. And South Chicagoans. Democratic process should mean something.

Michael said...

I've always viewed the Palestinians as the Sudeten Germans of the Near East...