Friday, February 29, 2008
Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, 29 February 2008
".....Ben-Eliezer's call for Barghouti's release is not the first to come from a prominent Israeli, but it must nevertheless come as a severe blow to Abbas. To call for Barghouti's release as, say, a gesture to the Palestinians, or in exchange for an Israeli prisoner of war held by the Palestinian resistance in Gaza, is one thing. But to view him as an alternative partner for a redundant Abbas is something else altogether.
For Abbas it means that all he invested in the peace process -- including his highly unpopular policies meant to appease Israel, Washington and the "international community," all at the expense of his popularity and even legitimacy among his own people -- is being thrown back at him with total ingratitude. Israel could not have invented a Palestinian leader more compliant than Abbas, and yet even Abbas is not good enough for Israel......
There is nothing new in this Israeli pattern: it has always tried to foster "alternative" Palestinian leaderships who would make peace not by insisting on fundamental rights, but through surrender and agreeing to serve as Israeli subcontractors. What is shocking is the folly of Palestinian leaders who claimed that they had learned the "lessons" of the past but who once again have gone chasing after a mirage and a fake promise of peace, squandering on the way valuable time and most importantly rights while Israel has continued to gobble up the land......
Yes, Abbas and Fayyad are weak primarily because they are dependent on Israel and Washington, and their weakness has never been the result of their failure to convince the Palestinian people to accept a peaceful settlement; on the contrary, they were totally unable to convince Israel to abide by any of the terms of the many accords and initiatives that they kept pinning their hopes on.
Even if Barghouti were released -- and it is to be demanded that he along with all the political prisoners held by Israel be promptly released -- and he were then to assume the leadership, he would not likely be as conciliatory and supplicant as the Israeli-recognized Palestinian leaders....."