Ben-Dror Yemini
Ben-Dror Yemini
Photo: Ynet
A member of the Palestinian security forces controls the cars entering the West Bank city of Hebron

One small step towards Palestinian-Israeli talks

Opinion: With no serious breakthrough on the horizon to solve the decades-long conflict, a renewal of ties between Jerusalem and Ramallah holds great importance in restoring some order to the Middle East quagmire

Ben-Dror Yemini |
Published: 11.21.20 , 14:58
The six months in which ties were severed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) may not have resulted in any great security calamity or a resurgence of terrorism, but they were a nightmare for Israeli security officials.
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  • On Tuesday, Ramallah announced the renewal of these ties, a bright spot among the myriad of issues between Jerusalem and the Palestinians.
    A member of the Palestinian security forces controls the cars entering the West Bank town of Hebron A member of the Palestinian security forces controls the cars entering the West Bank town of Hebron
    A member of the Palestinian security forces controls the cars entering the West Bank city of Hebron
    (Photo: AFP)
    Europe - as usual - did nothing to help improve the situation, and if anything has made it worse.
    The European Union and most Western European nations automatically back the Palestinian position, transferring aid to Palestinian and Israeli organizations that are mostly hostile to Israel, thereby only adding more fuel to the fire.
    The continent does have a serious and positive role to play in renewing talks, but usually chooses not to take advantage of it.
    But this time, however, was different as the EU pressed the PA to renew ties with Israel. The organization also threatened to cut Palestinian aid as Ramallah was warning of an impending economic disaster but still refusing to take tax revenue collected by Israel worth a massive $750 million or so.
    מחמוד עבאס, אבו מאזן ראש הרשות הפלסטינית נואם במליאת עצרת האו״םמחמוד עבאס, אבו מאזן ראש הרשות הפלסטינית נואם במליאת עצרת האו״ם
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaking at the UNGA
    (Photo: AFP)
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had decided to punish his people over Israel's justified insistence on deducting from the tax revenues the sum that the PA hands over to the families of terrorists jailed in Israel or dead in terror missions against Israelis.
    But the resumption of these ties is just a small step. The conflict with the Palestinians still an open wound for Israel, despite its historic new normalization agreements with the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan.
    This is no longer a Palestinian conflict solely with Israel. The Palestinians have also managed to turn moderate Sunni Arab nations against them by backing their rivals.
    Abbas' support for former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was the first insult. Nonetheless, the Arab world tried to keep its cool and continue its support for the Palestinians.
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, left, meeting with Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in Tehran Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, left, meeting with Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in Tehran
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, meeting with Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in Tehran
    (Photo: AP)
    When former U.S. president Bill Clinton presented his parameters for a solution to the Palestinian issue most Arab nations supported it, but again Ramallah refused.
    When Iran, together with Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Muslim Brotherhood, became the main threats to stability in the Middle East, who did the Palestinians side with? The Iranian-Islamist-Turkish axis.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting in Washington in 2014Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting in Washington in 2014
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting in Washington in 2014
    (Photo: Getty Images)
    The renewal of the ties between the PA and Israel a cure for only one symptom of a disease that still continues to thrive.
    With all due respect to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and his future administration, it is unlikely they will be able to present an outline that would be acceptable to the Palestinians.
    When Biden was vice president to Barack Obama, then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented the Palestinians with a proposal they could not refuse.
    Susan Rice, today one of leading candidates for the role of top American diplomat, was also there - and they both know the Palestinians refused the proposal.
    ארכיון 2010 ג'ו ביידן אז סגן נשיא ארה"ב עם אבו מאזן ב רמאללהארכיון 2010 ג'ו ביידן אז סגן נשיא ארה"ב עם אבו מאזן ב רמאללה
    U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meeting in 2010
    (Photo: AP)
    Because no breakthrough in talks is expected, small steps like the renewed ties are crucial. This does not give Israel carte blanche to do as it pleases in the West Bank.
    But until real change arrives, both sides are obligated to not make the situation worse.

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