by Ruthie Blum
With all the foreign money that has been earmarked for its development, the PA should have been Singapore by now. Instead, its best-known commodity is "martyrdom."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas marked Eid al-Fitr -- the end of Ramadan -- by making a ritual pilgrimage on Wednesday to a very holy site among his people: the grave of former PLO chief Yasser Arafat.
It was a fitting occasion for the PA leader to pay respects to his predecessor, a mass murderer whose greatest achievement was persuading the world that he had changed his stripes. Though Arafat's vision all along was to annihilate the Jewish state in stages -- which caused his internal rivals to consider him too moderate -- the West took his acquiescence to negotiate and sign the Oslo Accords to be a turning point.
Between the signing of Oslo I in 1993 on the White House lawn and Oslo II at Taba in 1995, the archterrorist was even awarded a joint Nobel Peace Prize with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in 1994.
At the Camp David summit in 2000, aimed at actually achieving the "peace" for which he had won the most prestigious global award, Arafat first blew up the talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and subsequently launched a five-year suicide bombing war against innocent Israelis.
Abbas never enjoyed the kind of popularity at home and abroad in which Arafat basked. But he is made of the same cloth, in spite of sporting a suit and tie, rather than a keffiyeh and phony medal-studded army fatigues.
It should have come as no surprise, then, when the PA leader took the occasion of the Muslim holiday and the site of Arafat's burial to blast the report, released last Friday by the Middle East Quartet, calling on Israel and the Palestinians "to independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution and refrain from unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations."
Incensed that the Quartet -- comprised of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia -- had the gall to include the PA in its recommendations rather than single out Israel for wrongdoing, Abbas called on the U.N. Security Council to intervene and reject the document.
The 10 recommendations in question are as follows:
1. Both sides should work to de-escalate tensions by exercising restraint and refraining from provocative actions and rhetoric.
2. Both sides should take all necessary steps to prevent violence and protect the lives and property of all civilians, including through continuing security coordination and strengthening the capacity, capability and authority of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces.
3. The Palestinian Authority should act decisively and take all steps within its capacity to cease incitement to violence and strengthen ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including by clearly condemning all acts of terrorism.
4. Israel should cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion, designating land for exclusive Israeli use and denying Palestinian development.
5. Israel should implement positive and significant policy shifts, including transferring powers and responsibilities in Area C, consistent with the transition to greater Palestinian civil authority contemplated by prior agreements. Progress in the areas of housing, water, energy, communications, agriculture and natural resources, along with significantly easing Palestinian movement restrictions, can be made while respecting Israel's legitimate security needs.
6. The Palestinian leadership should continue their efforts to strengthen institutions, improve governance, and develop a sustainable economy. Israel should take all necessary steps to enable this process, in line with the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee recommendations.
7. All sides must continue to respect the cease-fire in Gaza, and the illicit arms buildup and militant activities must be terminated.
8. Israel should accelerate the lifting of movement and access restrictions to and from Gaza, with due consideration of its need to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks.
9. Gaza and the West Bank should be reunified under a single, legitimate and democratic Palestinian authority on the basis of the PLO platform and Quartet principles and the rule of law, including control over all armed personnel and weapons in accordance with existing agreements.
10. Both parties should foster a climate of tolerance, including through increasing interaction and cooperation in a variety of fields -- economic, professional, educational, cultural -- that strengthen the foundations for peace and countering extremism.
That Abbas is furious about these recommendations, which put Israel on equal footing with its aggressor, is yet further proof, if any were needed, of his total belligerence. Laughably, the report calls for the PA leadership to "strengthen" its efforts to combat terrorism -- as though it ever engaged in such an endeavor. If he were alive to read such a clause, Arafat would have been chuckling all the way to the bank to pocket the billions poured into Palestinian "institution-building." Abbas can't even manage to do this with a smile.
It is crucial to stress the timing of the release of the Quartet's "findings" -- a day after 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel from Kiryat Arba was butchered in her bed as she slept, and on the same day that a father of 10 from Otniel, Rabbi Michael Mark, was killed in a shooting attack on his car. But these are just two of hundreds of incidents of Palestinian terrorist attacks that have rocked the Jewish state since Rosh Hashanah last September.
Abbas not only welcomed each and every one of the bloodthirsty stabbing, car-ramming, Molotov-cocktail-hurling assaults on innocent Israelis -- he encouraged and rewarded them.
It is due to the Oslo Accords that his mentor, Arafat, signed -- and which only Israel upheld -- that he controls a de facto state in Judea and Samaria. With all the foreign money that has been earmarked for its development, the PA should have been Singapore by now. Instead, its best-known commodity is "martyrdom."
No reports or recommendations can alter that fact.
Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.
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