About a year ago, they were certain that good fortunes are ahead and that an ideal American president will make all their wishes come true. Yet within a year, the tables have turned, and instead of the PA painting Netanyahu as a refusenik, the world is increasingly starting to realize that the Palestinians are in fact the refuseniks.
Two moves by Netanyahu managed to change the picture: First, his willingness to endorse a Palestinian state, without a return of the refugees and without Jerusalem; a move that had the Palestinians would have grabbed with both hands a while ago had they been serious about it.
Then there is the temporary settlement freeze, which posed another problem for Abbas. Israel made a move, so why are you refusing to negotiate with it? He is being asked by world leaders. The burden of proof has shifted to him, at a time when he has not made any concession vis-à-vis Israel. The opposite is true – his PA continues to incite against Israel.
While Israel is ready for negotiations, here and now, the Palestinians are presenting preconditions and are losing the West’s support. Preconditions for talks with Israel? As if we never had Olso, mutual recognition, and signed agreements. When it comes to Palestinian rights, the joint agreements are alive and well, yet when it comes to recognizing Israel, they suddenly dissipate.
In addition, the Palestinian leadership only recent got hit with a slap in the face in the wake of the “unilateral statehood” notion it came up with. The United States made it clear in the most unenthusiastic and determined way that there is no chance it will support such move.
Worse than that for the Palestinians: Even the European Union made it explicitly clear that it will not endorse such unilateral move or state. Such move contradicts the European worldview, which is based on negotiations and mutual recognition.
Palestinians fail to understand
Yet what about the hatred to Israel? Muttered the Palestinians, who failed to realize that hatred for Israel does not equal sympathy for the Palestinians. They confused anti-Israel sentiments with Pro-Palestinian sentiments. They failed to understand that many in the world hate Israel, but are using the Palestinians as the fig leaf for this hatred.
The Palestinians were also stunned to see relations upgraded between Israel and Europe, a move they attempted to curb. Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki (formerly a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) even condemned this.
The Palestinians fail to understand: How could Europe be moving closer to Israel? They listened for too long to the hate broadcasts of most Arab channels, which emphasize only the negative aspects about Israel; just like anyone relying on these reports, they cannot understand the real picture.
Even more disappointing for the Palestinians was the absence of Arab support for the unilateral Palestinian move. Some reminded them sarcastically that they already endorsed the Palestinian state declared in 1988…
And so, the Palestinians have remained alone, again. Seemingly, everyone supports them and competes to back them more loudly, yet at the moment of truth, as always, they are left alone.
The Palestinians, who wanted to isolate the US and Israel with their unilateral move, ended up isolating themselves, portraying themselves as peace refuseniks objecting to real ties with Israel and as though they wish to force their views on the world. The Obama Administration is increasingly having reservations about them; they largely lost him.
The unilateral move exacted a heavy price on Abbas and his associates, and at this time they have no idea about how to respond to Netanyahu, who is waiting to talk to them.