Thursday, June 22, 2017

Israelis Should Listen to Abbas – to Every Word

Ha’aretz’s May 29 editorial was “Listen to Abbas.” I want to join this call. Listen very carefully. Abbas is very careful to use the term “two states,” but not “for two peoples.” Because the Jews are not a people in his eyes, the two states that Abbas refers to are a national Palestinian state and a country called Israel, to which “the refugees” eventually “will return.” Two countries will be west of the Jordan: one theirs and the other – also theirs.
Abbas knows from experience that it is sufficient to wrap this hostile position in a few terms that have a friendly ring – peace, harmony – so that well-meaning Israelis will hasten to interpret them according to their own wishes, ignoring everything else he says, allowing him to blur the fact that the Palestinians have refused every serious proposal put before them.
Last month, during his visit to India, Abbas spoke of the Nakba – an injustice that, in his words, “began over 100 years ago with the appearance of Zionism with its false vision….Our people will not leave behind the issue of the Nakba until all their legitimate national rights are recognized, without exception – and first and foremost, the right of return.”
If we begin to listen to Abbas, methodically and over time, we will discover that he is not preparing himself for any compromise. 
The writer is a senior lecturer in communications and public policy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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