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Shaul Rosenfeld
The same old movie
Regardless of Israeli concessions there is no chance for peace with Palestinians
There’s a story about a movie buff who would watch the films he liked time and again. Once, he bet with a person sitting next to him in the movie theater that the “good guy” in one of the scenes would not fall into a trap laid by the “bad guys,” avoiding a baseball bat blow on his head. However, by the end of the movie it turned out that “good guy” fell into the trap again, and again was hit with a bat. “How could it be that you were betting that the guy would avoid the trap after already seeing this movie dozens of times before?” asked one of the movie buff’s friends. “I was sure that after dozens of times he learned the lesson and won’t repeat the mistake,” replied the man without hesitating.

 

The recent statements by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who said that the “martyrs’ path adopted by Arafat, Abu Jihad, George Habash, and also Ahmad Yassin is the one we cherish” is no more than one of many reminders (for those who need them) that even in the latest version of the Mideastern movie, which hit the theaters about 15 years ago, have nothing new in them, surprisingly enough. The characters in the movie changed a little, and the scrip underwent a few cosmetic changes, yet the viewers, some of whom changed too meanwhile, are still convinced that this time everything will be different.

 

However, when it comes to reality, somewhat differently than in the movies, the entire package of Palestinian demands has remained intact: The new president, similarly to the previous one, remained committed to the “peace of the brave,” the doubletalk, and no less so to the path of the martyrs. Yet Israeli “film buffs” keep on purchasing tickets to the same movie, with complete faith that this time around the Palestinian thugs holding the baseball bats would be kind enough to offer their visitors a red carpet instead of a trap.

 

“How could you be so foolish and sign an agreement with this corrupt conman? He will screw you over just like he did anyone who ever signed a deal with him,” lamented a senior Palestinian figure in a talk with IDF officers on September 14, 1993, a day after the Oslo Accord was signed. Yet back then, when the country was overcome by euphoria and peace angels were hovering above, there was not much chance for this voice to penetrate the screens of repression and jubilation that were blindly put up.

 

However, at this time too, in the midst of the painful collective sobering up process in the face of Peres’ and Beilin’s fantasy venture and Palestinian evil deeds, too many within our political establishment continue to praise the possibility of an agreement. And so, on the eve of the elections there is almost no political body around here that is willing to openly declare that there is no chance for peace with the Palestinians.

 

It makes no difference whether our territorial strip show reaches the 1967 borders, or also includes the renunciation of Israeli sovereignty on Temple Mount (The “People’s Voice” initiative); or whether we are talking about returning almost 100% of Judea and Samaria and even “family reunification” (as offered by Barak in Camp David and in Taba in 2000); or whether we include a somewhat more ”significant” entry of Palestinian refugees into Israel (The Geneva Initiative) – this was never enough to satisfy the Palestinian partner.

 

And if all of these gifts were not enough to prompt the Palestinian bride to say “I do,” how in the name of God (or Allah) will the renunciation of Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem (and not in the Holy Basin) and a deal that does not allow for the entry of refugees will bring peace upon us? Indeed, Olmert and Livni, like Beilin before them, find it convenient to highlight these Arab neighborhoods (and not Temple Mount, for example,) while hinting that the Right’s objection to their return torpedo the “long-awaited agreement.” However, the likelihood that the Palestinian partner will sign something and honor it is not much different than the likelihood that the “good guy” in the movie I mentioned at the beginning won’t be hit with a bat at the end.

 

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