The Israel Project, a hardline Israel lobby group, responds to the new wave of Palestinian protests of occupation and imprisonment by stating that Palestinians are incapable of participating in a peace process– so why is Obama wasting his time. TIP’s press release is below.
I would add that on Hardball the other night, Chris Matthews echoed this same theme. In a conversation with former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele, Matthews said that even when the Israelis have a “good government” (i.e., not Netanyahu) they can’t find anyone on the other side of the Green Line “to deal with”– just as Obama confronts intransigence in the Republican Party: “It isn’t a bargaining party, that’s the problem, and the president needs someone to bargain with.”
I wonder how long the Palestinians are expected to endure occupation and disfranchisement and wait for the international community to act? They were promised a state 66 years ago, have never gotten one; when will they be granted rights?
From TIP: “Palestinians Increase Violence, Reduce Chances for Peace”:
Jerusalem, Feb. 24 – With U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the region just a month away, the latest violent Palestinian protests are placing a serious question mark over Obama’s plan to reboot the peace process.
There has been a noticeable increase in fire-bombings and stonings by Palestinians in recent weeks against Israelis….
Today some 3,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are launching a hunger strike, after one of their number died on Saturday, seemingly from a heart attack….
Abbas himself is beginning to talk up a third intifada (popular uprising) although so far he is speaking about a “peaceful intifada” – a concept jointly conceived with Khaled Mashaal, leader of the Iran-backed Hamas terror organization that controls the Gaza Strip.
While the first intifada in the 1980s was largely dominated by popular protests, many of them violent, the second intifada, which began more than a decade ago, was anything but a popular uprising. Thousands of Israeli civilians were killed and wounded in wave after wave of suicide bombings.
Abbas’ remarks, coupled with violent protests in favor of prisoner releases and the ongoing attacks against Israelis are not creating a helpful environment as the various officials planning Obama’s visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah arrive in the Middle East.
A friend points out that 1100 Israeli civilians were killed in the Second Intifada, and more than 4,000 Palestinians, many of them civilians.
P.S. Even J Street is aware of the Palestinian grievances. Jeremy Ben-Ami, from his latest email (thanks to Peter Belmont):
We heard very clearly the rising anger and frustration from Palestinians. While we were there, prisoners were on hunger strike again, large-scale protests were building, and it seems there is very little recognition of the rising frustration among Palestinians on the Israeli side of the green line.
And here is Yossi Gurvitz, writing that the Palestinians of Qusra are experiencing settler “pogroms,” with Israeli soldiers standing by.