When the moderates wither
When the U.S. Congress withholds funds for the Palestinian Authority, is it shooting peace in the foot?
The U.S. Congress, which is having difficulty getting on track, has put $200 million in aid to the Palestinians on hold, and is preparing to cut another $600 million soon, the British newspaper The Independent reported yesterday.
Have the evangelicals over there decided to launch their super-plan here? Are they bringing about a fine war of Gog and Magog?
Israel also has its evangelicals. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon also want to make a burning impression on the minds of the Palestinians. Jerusalem will follow right on Washington's heels and will hold the tax money it collects for Ramallah by treaty.
That will be the downfall of the Palestinian Authority, never to rise again. It will raise its hands in surrender and make way for the Israeli government. The occupation will renew itself as in days of yore, blessed be He who has sustained us and brought us to this time.
The U.S. government has issued a stammering and muffled condemnation of the approval of 1,100 apartments on Mount Gilo - a down payment of good will ahead of negotiations without preconditions. But they immediately impose sanctions on the Palestinian request of the United Nations, which the Quartet called over the weekend a legitimate initiative.
That is how the United States seeks a responsible and balanced position and the status of an "honest broker" in the region.
And this morning's Haaretz says that Barack Obama, the first Jewish president of the United States, wants a little something from Netanyahu in exchange for his fine speech at the UN General Assembly and the assurance of its veto in the Security Council. But Netanyahu has firmly refused, because only Abbas is considered recalcitrant, and only Abbas will be punished.
Only a few days, a few weeks at most, and the PA will wither. And where moderates wither, the despicable flourish. Tens of thousands of teachers, doctors and sanitations workers will stop working. They will have nothing to lose but their salaries, which they have already lost.
The tent protesters, who were so careful to separate between housing and education, on the one hand, and politics, on the other, will certainly note another landmark. Instead of slashing the defense budget in favor of welfare, suddenly the protesters will look with longing at how the defense budget balloons, crushing all their hopes from the summer.
Despair is a bad adviser, and bilateral despair is a recipe for calamity. They have no country, we have occupation. And at the farewell - the farewell to peace in order to become refugees again in war - Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will have the last word. It is fairly clear what they will say: They will say the same things that any normal person would say in their place: To hell with you, but go there without us.
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