Last week, in New Chance for Peace the editors of the New York Times observed that:
There are other positive currents. Violence against Israelis is down. Palestinian security forces are increasingly competent at policing the West Bank. Palestinian authorities have clamped down on incitement, including removing imams and teachers who encourage attacks against Israelis. More can still be done.
Last week’s terror attack, I think, raises questions about the competence of the security forces. The murders of the Israelis was clearly planned suggesting an infrastructure. Yet apparently the Palestinian police were unaware of the cells or unwilling to take action against the planners. The ability of Hamas to operate even where the PA is nominally in control, is certainly a sobering reminder of the PA’s weakness.
Nor should we forget that, in the past, the PA police have been responsible for terror.
During an investigation by the Shin Bet security service, the two let it be known that a third person was also involved in the incident: They said that Fadi Jama’, also in the National Security organization of the Palestinian Authority, gave them the weapons they used in the attack.
And while the PA may be taking action against some who preach incitement, it’s hardly comprehensive. (More likely the PA’s taking action against Hamas affiliated preachers and teachers as part of a power struggle.) The leaders of the PA continue to engage in incitement so at best its effort is selective.
So when the Times featured a followup editorial maybe it would demonstrate some dampened enthusiasm for the Palestinian commitment to peace. Yesterday, in Another start for peace talks, the editors were even more enthusiastic.
We have long been skeptical that Mr. Netanyahu really wants a deal. But he insisted he had come to â€œfind a historic compromiseâ€ that would end the conflict and that he recognizes that â€œanother people shares this land with us.â€ He even told Mr. Abbas, â€œyou are my partner in peace.â€ We will soon see if it was all political theater.
Mr. Abbas came to the table reluctantly. He is the weaker party and most at risk of being blamed for any breakdown. Still, he promised to â€œwork to make these negotiations succeedâ€ and said security â€” a major issue for Israel â€” â€œis vital for both of us.â€
It is kind of funny. Netanyahu didn’t walk away from negotiations; Abbas did. Maybe that’s why Abbas is more at risk for being blamed for any breakdown that may occur. Still the next paragraph is awful.
Predictably, peace opponents tried to torpedo the talks. But Mr. Netanyahu didnâ€™t walk out when Hamas rejectionists killed four Israelis near Hebron. And Mr. Abbas not only condemned the attack but his security forces went after those responsible. He didnâ€™t walk out when some Israeli settlers began new settlement construction even before a Sept. 26 moratorium is to expire.
A terror attack that killed Israelis is equated with Israelis building new homes. Worse, as David Horovitz noted:
Netanyahu, the security hawk, rapidly outflanked his dovish predecessor Olmert in removing roadblocks and checkpoints and easing freedom of movement for Palestinians in the West Bank â€“ including in the area near Kiryat Arba where four Israelis were murdered on Tuesday night â€“ taking â€œcalculated security risksâ€ to enable the Palestinian economy to flourish, in the hope that â€œeconomic peaceâ€ would eventually galvanize Palestinian support for the real deal.
No, actually the goal is to kill Jews. Embarrassing the PA is a bonus at best.
Nor is the main goal it to torpedo peace talks.
And yet despite all this what must Israel do?
Sept. 26 is the next flashpoint. The Washington conference would have had far more impact if the two sides announced an agreement to deal with that. Mr. Netanyahu should extend the moratorium.
If Abbas were really committed to peace why should Israeli building of communities in Judea and Samaria be a “flashpoint?” We’re not talking about a campaign of violence that Israel, as a matter of course, usually does not respond to, regardless of the toll. Why is it that Israel must offer even more CBM’s, when the Palestinians don’t observe the basic elements of peace?
Crossposted on Soccer Dad.