“Netanyahu can’t refuse such an offer without looking like he’s uninterested in a negotiated resolution of the conflict,” observed Roger Cohen of the New York Times.
Ramallah, September 13 – Underlining its niche as the moderate Palestinian faction that favors a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the ruling faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization offered new ideas today for restarting final-status talks with Israel by floating a proposal to put a stop to all official Palestinian incitement to murder as many Jews as possible, until after a treaty has been signed.
Mahmoud Abbas, who functions both as President of the Palestinian Authority and Chairman of the PLO, directed his Fatah faction to suggest the idea in international media. In addition to cementing his reputation as a moderate and a peacemaker, despite avoiding any peace deals with Israel to date, Abbas places the ball in Israel’s diplomatic court and redirects political pressure to his Israeli counterpart, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
“While we do not accept the outrageous suggestion that defending our homeland by encouraging the killing of every Jew we possibly can constitutes ‘incitement,’ for the sake of of peace we are willing to make this concession,” read a statement by Abbas. “We are willing to put on hold all calls for attacks on Jews, all public rewards for those who kill Jews, all official honors for those involved in attempts to kill Jews, until such time as we have achieved an independent Palestine that can finish the job of killing all the Jews.”
Experts noted that once Palestine has achieved sovereignty, it will prove close to impossible for Israel to suppress incitement – which it currently combats by arresting Palestinians who engage in it, and by shutting down media that promote Jew-killing. While no Israeli government has ever considered agreeing to a Palestinian state with significant military capabilities, Abbas and his allies believe that even after a peace agreement is signed, the international community will continue to treat Israeli-self-defense as unimportant, and will allow Palestinian buildup of arms and equipment to a level that will make the incitement meaningful.
Commentators called Mr. Abbas’s move a shrewd diplomatic coup. “Netanyahu can’t refuse such an offer without looking like he’s uninterested in a negotiated resolution of the conflict,” observed Roger Cohen of the New York Times. “Of course that would be the case no matter what, since we in liberal journalism decided long ago that Netanyahu must be thus characterized, and held solely responsible for any failures of negotiation. If he does the politically impossible and accepts the offer, we would then have to move on to other ways in which his position lacks seriousness and he’s a warmonger. Narrative and all, is what I’m saying.”
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