Israel and the Palestinians

Farah Stockman has an interesting point:

Hamas’s rockets resulted in a ceasefire that eased the Israeli blockade on Gaza, giving Hamas a victory to claim. The crisis also produced a flurry of attention and high-level visitors to Gaza from the Muslim world. Fatah basically got ignored.

Meanwhile, Abbas has precious few victories to tout after years of stalemated peace talks. And his statehood bid already seems headed for disaster. Members of Congress have threatened to cut US aid if Abbas goes ahead. Voices in Israel are calling for punishment, including starving Abbas’s government of import duties, annexing parts of the West Bank, or even finding a way to kick Abbas out of power. Israel’s right-wing foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has called Abbas’s strategy at the UN “diplomatic terrorism.”

Is it any wonder that Hamas is getting more popular? If Abbas is a “diplomatic terrorist,” why not just vote for the real thing?

Fatah has basically stopped violence directed at Israel from the West Bank and have gotten nothing for it. Fatah’s one main prerequisite for resuming negotiations is that Israel stop building in the West Bank and they can’t even get that. Abbas is now trying to get Palestinians status upgraded at the UN which Israel is very much against:

“The United Nations General Assembly will pass a one-sided anti-Israel resolution that should come as a surprise to nobody, and certainly not to anyone in Israel,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli government. “We always said that the reality was that the Palestinians have an automatic majority in the General Assembly.”

Israel has argued that the Palestinian move is a unilateral action that violates peace accords, and that a vote for the resolution — which, according to the draft, “reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their state of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967” — will make it harder to negotiate a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Since there has been no progress in negotiations for at least a few years and since they’re not negotiating now, does it really mean anything that Israel says this will make negotiations harder?

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