White House Shifts Support to Abbas
Vol: 44 Issue: 28 Saturday, May 28, 2005
After meeting at the White House with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, President Bush gave a speech in which he called on Israel to freeze all construction in the West Bank, dismantle unauthorized West Bank outposts and avoid permanent changes in Jerusalem.
President Bush was evidently impressed by the performance of Palestinian security forces now working in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Despite Israeli complaints, US envoy Lt. Gen. William Ward filed a positive assessment of PA efforts to put a stop to terror attacks against Israeli targets.
Ward reported to the President that Abbas was instituting reforms and required additional Israeli confidence-building measures, including the release of Palestinian prisoners.
According to news accounts, President Bush believes Abbas is genuinely committed to peace. So much so that he accepted a PA request to ‘monitor’ the evacuation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza because, according to a US official;
“Abbas is concerned that Israel will use the withdrawal to launch a massive military operation against Hamas and other groups in the Gaza Strip.”
The White House isn’t planning to send an ‘observer’ — it is planning to send The Observer — Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. That is about as high-ranking an official as the US could send, apart from Dick Cheney or the president himself.
The president, announcing $50 million for Palestinian infrastructure, said he intended to help create a Palestinian state with territorial contiguity and a link between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
“A state of scattered territories will not work,” Bush said. “There must also be meaningful linkages between the West Bank and Gaza.”
For the first time, Bush said the United States would not accept any changes in the 1949 armistice lines without agreement by Israel and the Palestinians.
The president did not refer to his statement in April 2005 that called on Palestinians to accept the Israeli presence developed in the West Bank over the last 35 years.
“Any final status agreement must be reached between the two parties, and changes to the 1949 Armistice lines must be mutually agreed to,” Bush said.
Israeli officials appeared stunned by Bush’s reference to the 1949 armistice lines, which does not include the West Bank, Gaza Strip and much of Jerusalem. Some of the officials said the White House signaled its determination to press Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders.
(Here is a link to a map of the 1949 armistice lines).
“It’s a collapse of or at least a harsh blow in U.S.-Israeli relations,” Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said.
“What we saw yesterday must worry us. There is even a U.S. withdrawal from [United Nations Security Council resolution] 242, which talks about ‘defensible borders.'”
The White House’s abrupt about face is made all the more baffling when one takes into account Mahmoud Abbas’ record so far. And it is even more baffling given his plans for the future.
According to Geo-Strategy Direct, a subscription intelligence website operated by the Washington Times’ investigative reporter Bill Gertz, Abbas has been quietly laying the groundwork for a campaign of violence designed to undermine U.S. support for Israel and suspend Bush administration efforts to achieve reform and transparency in the Palestinian Authority.
Abbas let his cards slip during his White House meeting where he reportedly stressed that the PA would not compromise on its demand for the so-called ‘right of return for Palestinians to what is now Israel.
The ‘Right of Return’ would stipulate that those Arabs who fled their homes in advance of the 1948 Arab invasion be given back their lands and property, together with full Israeli citizenship for themselves and their dependants.
Israel estimates that the “Right of Return” would require it to absorb an influx of several million Arabs into its population. Because Israel is a democracy, the newly absorbed Arab voters could outnumber Jewish voters and could vote Israel out of existence as a Jewish state, destroying it without firing a shot.
Abbas adviser Bassam Abu Sharif articulated the PA’s position, saying, “The tasks facing the members of Palestinian organizations, especially Fatah and Hamas and the organizations whose representatives form the majority of the PLO leadership, focus first and foremost on resisting the occupation and establishing a state on Palestinian lands occupied in 1967.”
“Resisting the occupation” and ‘establishing a state on Palestinian lands “occupied” in 1967. . .” If there is a dime’s worth of difference between Arafat’s position and that of Abbas, I can’t detect it.
Let’s have a little pop quiz on geography. The ‘Palestinian’ lands ‘occupied’ by Israel in 1967 can be located on the 1948 armistice map. Locate the West Bank. (It’s colored orange.) What country did the 1949 Armistice Agreement give the West Bank to?
Now look to your left and locate the Gaza Strip. It’s colored in red. Now look down to the legend. Hmmm. Orange belongs to Jordan. Red belongs to Egypt. Now locate the ‘occupied Palestinian lands’ that Abbas is referring to.
Having some trouble?
That’s because there was no such thing as ‘Palestinian’ lands. Here is a map of what was called “Palestine” following the British defeat of the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1917.
If there is such a place as ‘Palestinian Lands’ historically, it includes all of Jordan, part of Syria, all of Lebanon and parts of both Egypt and Iraq.
For 500 years prior to the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, ‘Palestine’ (then called ‘Southern Syria) was a minor province of no particular importance. Jerusalem was of such little importance that it wasn’t even a territorial capital.
The name, ‘Palestine’ isn’t even an Arab word. ‘Palestine’ is from the Greek “Palaistina” which is derived from the Hebrew “Pleshet” which means, “Land of the Philistines” and historically, referred to a a small coastal strip north east of Egypt, also called “Philistia.”
In the 2nd century BC, the Romans renamed it “Syria Palaestina”.
The modern name, “Palestine” was revived when the British were given their mandate following World War I. Until 1967, the Arabs used the term ‘Palestinian’ to describe the JEWS.
The maps are there. Take a look at them again. There is no such thing as an Arab ‘Palestinian people’. There never was.
The ‘Palestinian people’ were created in a single day in 1967 by Yasser Arafat. He created them out of the expatriate Jordanians and Egyptians left behind after Egypt and Jordan were defeated by Israel.
The White House knows all this. It isn’t a secret. Neither is it revised history. The maps existed long before the ‘Palestinian people’ did. What has Abbas done to inspire such confidence that the White House would modify its position?
Apart from public assurances, Abbas has failed to arrest Palestinian terrorists, refused to dismantle terrorist cells or seize weapons from those identified as having attacked Israel.
Over the past eight months, Palestinian children have been learning from new school textbooks that demonize Jews and deem the Protocols of the Elders of Zion a legitimate historical source.
The new textbooks remove all Jewish and Israeli references found in previous editions. This includes the changing of the name of Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem.
PA officials said Abbas wants immediate U.S. endorsement of Palestinian positions regarding statehood. “We will ask Bush for a clear American position over the implementation of the roadmap after the withdrawal from Gaza,” Abbas said before leaving for Washington.
“We want two basic issues. We want him to give us political support and economic support that was promised by Congress because our people are in dire need of it.” Abbas got both.
Bush not only promised to keep up the pressure to force Israel to accept an enemy state within its territorial boundaries. He also agreed to a fifty million dollar grant for the Palestinian Authority.
So far, Congress has given $200 million in US tax dollars to the PA. Arafat stole ALL of it, not to mention hundreds of millions more from other donor countries.
Now that he has the president’s ear, Abbas is reportedly planning to launch a fresh uprising against Israel. Geo-Strategy direct reports that Abbas hopes Israel will respond with “terrorist force and organized fire.”
According to the plan, the Israeli response would lead to massive Western pressure on Israel that would isolate the country and embarrass the United States. As a result, the Israeli people and American Jews would protest Sharon’s policies.
Gertz quotes Abbas advisor Abu Sharif who contends that an uprising represents, for the Palestinian side, a no-lose proposition. It would bolster the Palestinian stand, reverse the pro-Israeli policies of the United States and strengthen Abbas. As Palestinian violence rages back home, Abbas could be tough with the US.
Abbas was expected to delay any uprising until at least after the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, sources said. At the same time, he would not stop the escalation of Fatah and Hamas attacks on Israeli communities and military outposts in West Bank and Gaza Strip.
If this were any country except Israel, the entire farce would never have gotten off the ground. Were Israel not a Jewish state, the world would instantly reject the PA claims as historically and transparently invalid. Anybody with access to an atlas knows there has never been an Arab Palestine.
A hundred years ago, ‘Palestine’ was Southern Syria. For the next forty years, ‘Palestinians’ were Jews — Arab residents vehemently rejected the label of ‘Palestinian’ and insisted they were citizens of Southern Syria.
Thirty-eight years ago, following the defeat of Jordan and Egypt, an Egyptian-born Arab named Yasser Arafat invented the ‘Palestinian’ people.
The modern ‘Palestinian people’ have no unique language, no unique culture, no unique history and cannot be found identified anywhere in any historical records that date earlier than the mid 1960’s.
But somehow, we find one Mahmoud Abbas, ‘president’ of the ‘Palestinian people’, meeting at the White House with President George Bush to discuss creating a ‘Palestinian State’ on what is both historical and modern Israel.
And nobody seems to have a problem with it — except the Jews of Israel.
“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12:2-3)