A recent op-ed published in the Chronicle, “The fallacy of shrinking the conflict” (Dec. 24), made numerous spurious claims about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, including that six Palestinian rights organizations which Israel declared to be terror groups were “respected.” Those groups — Al Haq, Addameer, Bisan Center for Research & Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine, Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees — do not meet the definition of “respected” familiar to most of us.
These groups have links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The PFLP first became notorious in the 1970s for airline hijackings and was involved in the 2014 murder of five Israeli worshipers and a police officer in a Jerusalem synagogue. Some of these “respected” organizations even appear to have one or more current staff or board members affiliated with the PFLP, are involved with BDS activities and have a lack transparency of their funding.
The op-ed also claims that Palestinians in Judea and Samaria do not have adequate access to water, nor rights equivalent to those of Israelis in Israeli courts. From 1967 to 1995, Israel increased the number of Arab towns and villages connected to water systems from four to 309. Today, 96% of Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria are connected to water systems.
In 1995 Israel signed an agreement with the Palestinians, witnessed by the U.S., Russia, the EU and others, to provide them with water. Israel has consistently provided more water than the agreement required. That agreement also contained provisions regarding sewage, illegal drilling of wells and conservation, and allows the Palestinian Authority to drill for water in certain locations — which it has not done — that could produce 50 million cubic feet of water per year.
Why do they claim not to have enough water when donor countries around the world have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the PA for improved water and sewage systems, and conservation? Where has the money gone?
In 1967 Israel created military courts in Judea and Samaria, in accordance with international law, to implement and enforce rules of law that are similarly found in other courts. Article 66 of the Fourth Geneva Convention outlines the role of military courts, and those members of protected populations can only be brought to courts which have military status.
The Palestinians have walked away from every attempt at peace in the last 30-plus years, and Abbas has said time again that “Oslo is dead.” He has made many other statements indicating he has no interest in a peaceful resolution to the Palestinians’ conflict with Israel. Here are a few.
To the Arab League: “If you want war, and if all of you will fight Israel, we are in favor.”
Regarding Jews visiting the Temple Mount: “They have no right to defile it with their filthy feet.”
On Israel’s right to exist: “Call it what you want, but I will not accept it…the Jewish State…I will not accept it,” and “We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood spilled for Allah.”
Does this sound like someone who wants peace? I can say that I honestly agree with him — Oslo is dead.
Abbas does not ask Israel to forfeit to the Palestinians the land it claimed in 1967 because he will only accept an agreement that includes everything from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea — which includes all of Israel. We must take him at his word.
The U.S. and EU have been pushing a two-state solution for years and the Palestinian Authority has walked away from every proposal because it won’t accept any outcome in which Israel survives as a Jewish state. According to Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
The current U.S. administration’s attempt to engage the Palestinian Authority in a two-state solution is naïve at best. It is negligent to not take into account past history and lessons learned. The PA will continue to milk the U.S. and donor countries for whatever it can get. Perhaps Yaacov Kirschen, creator of the Dry Bones cartoon, presented it best. The Palestinians want a two-state solution, one for Fatah and one for Hamas. PJC
Stuart V. Pavilack is executive director of the Zionist Organization of America: Pittsburgh.