June 20th, 2007

Abbas and peace: fed up with “dialogue?”

Do I detect a new tone in the rhetoric of Mahmoud Abbas, or is it just wishful thinking on my part?

He’s reported to have issued some stinging criticism of his former “partners” in the ill-fated “unity” government of Palestine, Hamas.

Maybe it’s the murder of so many colleagues. Maybe it’s that it got very personal this time—“this bomb’s for Abu Mazen [Abbas],” a video shows men purported to be Hamas assassins (oh, sorry, “militants,” according to the linked CNN article) saying as they plot his murder. Maybe it’s that he sees his opportunity to get some traction as head of the West Bank, a traction that utterly eluded him before as the titular head of the coalition government.

We’ll see. But one sentence certainly had me (and his audience, his followers in Ramallah) applauding: There will be no dialogue with Hamas no matter what.

Sounds about right. Of course, dialogue with Fatah (of which Abbas is the head, heir to founder Arafat), used to be contraindicated as well, and led inexorably to fake peace talks in which Arafat could not accept reasonable offers, and then the horrifically bloody terrorist excesses of the Second Intifada.

Now chickens, as they say, have come home to roost for Abbas and Fatah. They were content to wink at the violence as long as it wasn’t directed at them. I take no joy in this, but my hope is that something about being the target of the viciousness they spawned will cause some sort of sea-change in Fatah itself. A person can hope, right? It would be good to have a true partner for peace, after all these years.

8 Responses to “Abbas and peace: fed up with “dialogue?””

  1. zhombre Says:

    So much for a Palestinian state. There never was one in the past; there isn’t one now, just rival gangs of thugs killing off one another; and won’t be one in the future. An independent Palestine is snake oil sold to suckers in the West.

  2. alphie Says:

    Well, one gang does seem to be taking over Palestine, zhombre.

    The state comes next.

    I wouldn’t count on Vichy Palestine lasting long enough to negotiate anything but their surrender.

  3. Tom Says:

    Hamas violence may cause a sea change in Fatah? Neo,your hope is an ill-founded illusion. That 2 thugs are beating each other up does not make them less thuggish. I am surprised at you!

    Gaza is easily blockaded, an obvious solution. But the Left’s handwringing about “innocent women and children” (Innocent being a much-overused and misapplied adjective these days) will keep Gaza as it is today, a Bedlamic society.

  4. camojack Says:

    It would be good to have a true partner for peace, after all these years.

    It would indeed. Will it happen, though?

    Only time will tell…

  5. zhombre Says:

    melaniephillips.comI concur with this writer’s grasp of the situation and proposed resolution:


    The chimera of a Palestinian state has turned barbaric. It was never predicated on an actual two state solution, but on the eventual eradication of Israel.

  6. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    Abbas is the “President” — all he has to do is sign a Peace Agreement with Israel and the West will flood his greedy, corrupt, & incompetent Fatah movement with cash. Probably enough cash so they hire enough anti-Hamas mercenaries to keep them alive, in power, and on the receiving end of a Western trough of aid. Most of them alive, anyway.

    And if a Peace Agreement comes before peace, or even a ceasefire, it would still be welcomed. Imagine if Abbas signs it, and then pushes for a referendum on it, only.

    It’s crucial that the West not give cash to Hamas; I’m not so certain about the Fatah killers. I’d always prefer the aid cash to be for business loans to any and all who have business plans and ideas for small businesses.

  7. Daniel in Brookline Says:


    I regret that I have no more confidence in Abu Mazen than the rest of your commenters thus far.

    As I’ve said from time to time, the only difference worth noting between Fatah and Hamas is that Fatah is willing to pretend to support peace, at least while speaking in English. (In Arabic their destroy-the-Zionist-entity-in-blood-and-fire rhetoric is unabated.) Hamas isn’t willing to pretend, so they say in English what Fatah says in Arabic.

    I’m personally very much discouraged by the help and support Fatah is now getting from the West. He doesn’t deserve it, nor are our interests in any way served by propping him up. We made that mistake back in 1993, leading to the historic Rabin-Arafat handshake at the White House — and an awful lot of death and destruction.

    Hang on; we’re in for a bumpy ride.

    Daniel in Brookline

  8. Johan Cicero Says:


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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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