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That Lazy Abbas. He Won’t Even Phone Trump

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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A poster of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh with the caption"Peace is only made with defeated enemies," Tel Aviv, February 15, 2020
A poster of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh with the caption"Peace is only made with defeated enemies," Tel Aviv, February 15, 2020Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

Last week, which marked the 53rd anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank in 1967, with the laziness of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The man won’t even pick up the phone to U.S. President Donald Trump. Abbas, Benn asked, why don’t you announce your willingness “to resume peace talks with Israel on the basis of the ‘deal of the century,’” and thwart the annexation Israel plans to impose unilaterally on July 1?

Benn also criticized the Israeli left, which, in the name of honor, justifies “indifference and intransigence.” Look at how, following the wave of desertions to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, the word “honor” has become an insult, while the man who rides roughshod over his principles based on how the wind is blowing is a king. Someone ought to whisper to the editor of Haaretz that Abbas is not Deputy Prime Minister and – not because of hollow honor, but rather because of the appalling reality.

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The appalling reality in Gantz’s case is that he fell in line with Netanyahu’s blatant attack on the rule of law and granted legitimacy to bribery, incitement and the destruction of morality. In Abbas’ case, the reality is that if he agrees to Trump’s plan, he would be falling in line with a plan that’s all about annexation and has been cut to suit Netanyahu’s ideological cloth, as well as the monstrous ideas of .

According to this plan, in which the territory earmarked for a Palestinian state would shrink by 30 percent and the state would be established in the labyrinthine style of an amusement park. And just like at Disneyland, aside from its overpasses and tunnels, it would also come completely wrapped, on land, sea and air, in a blue-and-white package.

The Palestinians must not say no! That’s the mantra we’ve been hearing for 100 years already. They must gladly accept any expropriations by the lord and master of their lands, rejoice that they are expelled and, if the master’s bladder is full and he happens to empty it on their heads, they’re supposed to be amazed by the blessed rain falling on them. Otherwise, we will hear self-pitying screeches about how the Palestinians keep on missing to miss opportunities.

This time, they’re missing a plan that shoves a spoke into the wheel of their national aspirations. They’re supposed to put their faith in a country whose ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is more extreme than the most thuggish of settlers.

An Arab saying goes, “the sharpened stake you’re afraid of, we’re already sitting on.” After all, annexation already exists with or without the Trump plan, and the time that passes in the never-ending series known as the “peace process” is being exploited to expand the settlements.

If so, why deceive the world time after time into thinking the two sides are returning to negotiations? Why lighten the burden on many Israelis’ sensitive consciences by making it seem that after all, a process is taking place, even if it leads to the destruction of Palestinian nationalism (even Benn once described the Trump plan – or to use its resounding title, “the Deal of the Century” – in this way).

The first-century Arab poet Al-Mutanabbi said, “if death is inevitable, don’t die a coward.” Yes, the game has been rigged ever since Israel’s establishment in 1948. The claim that if the Palestinians had agreed to the United Nations Partition Plan in 1947 we would already be living in paradise is ludicrous.

After agreeing to that plan, Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, wrote to his son Amos that “establishing a state, even a partial one, will serve as a powerful lever in our historic efforts to redeem the entire land.” This – “redeeming” the land from a neighboring people – has been Israel’s idea for 72 years now.

Back in 2002, the Arab world – “from the rebellious Gulf to the thundering ocean,” with all its hundreds of millions of inhabitants, its presidents and kings – presented a plan that included normalization with Israel while conditioning any solution to the Palestinian refugee problem on Israel’s consent. Eighteen years have passed since then, but there has been no response.

Meanwhile, peace plans have followed upon one another as frequently as people change their socks, and each sock has more holes than its predecessor. The time has come to stop these shady dealings.