I’ll tell you what, I spent my Sunday at a StandWithUs conference at Bnai David-Judea focusing on the prospects of peace, and optimism was not in the air.
Khaled Abu Toameh, a Palestinian affairs reporter for the Jerusalem Post and NBC News, said it isn’t—Fatah is too weak, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas too unpopular to sincerely negotiate a solution.
“Even if he gets 100 percent, he can’t implement it,” Abu Toameh said. “He doesn’t have the power.”
Mitchell Bard, executive director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, followed with a similarly downtrodden tone. Muslims, he said, have time on their side, with a birthrate much higher than Israeli Jews and the hope of future nuclear weaponry.
“So you wait,” Bard said. “Why would you want some crummy little state in Gaza and the West Bank, when all you have to do is wait?”
“The gap between Fatah and Hamas is narrowing,” Marcus said, pointing to soccer tournaments named after suicide bombers, textbooks approved by the Palestinian Authority that say the presence of non-Muslims on Palestinian land is an affront to Allah and an image used on Fatah TV that shows the Palestinian flag covering Israel on a map, with an emblem in the middle that states, “Palestine—2007.”
For this reason, Abu Toameh said the time is not ripe for negotiations: “The Palestinian street is very radical, very bitter. I’m sorry to say it, but I don’t see where we go from here.”
“There are many Israelis who are prepared to give up large parts of Arab Jerusalem,” the Jerusalem resident later added. “I think it is a mistake. If we had a really good government on the Palestinian side, I would say bring them in. But with Fatah and Hamas, I would run away.”