Wonderful news just in for those tracking the Mideast diplomacy shuttle. The long arduous trek is finally done. All that blood, sweat and tears has paid off big time, or hadn’t you heard? Yes, indeedy, my good friends, while you were channel surfing game to game through the NBA playoffs, history has marched to its summit. Muhammad has come to the mountain! The Palestinians have finally made peace!
In a spectacular proclamation, hailed in all the hallowed halls of heraldry, the Palestinians, after sixty-six years of bellyaching about the predations and depredations of those dirty J… — er, those Zionist imperialists and occupiers — has been talked round to the cause of peace. They have traded the olive camouflage uniforms for the olive branch and the hostile hawk of war for the dewy dove of peace. They are even looking on Craig’s List for some swords they can turn into plowshares.
Was all this the happy result of harried Kerry’s hurrying? Did his sterling statesmanship persuade Abbas and Fatah that they can catch more flies with baklava than with hummus? And if so, why is Benjamin Netanyahu still scowling?
Well, it turns out that the Palestinians have in fact made peace, but not with Israel. Quite the contrary, they have sworn to never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The war against Israel by all avenues of aggression or attrition advances apace. The occupation must be resisted at all costs. Children must be weaned on the sour milk of hatred. The struggle will continue.
The peace they chose to make was with each other. No longer shall the Hamas haymaker box against the West Bank heavyweights, nor shall the Fatah fatwa condemn the Gaza rocketeers. Israel rightly recoiled in shock. After all the American hope and hype generated by the frenetic pace of Obama and Kerry pushing the Peace Process, the Palestinians have made a mockery of the whole spiel. Instead of coming to the table in good faith, the supposedly moderate Mahmoud Abbas shows he has more in common with the murderous terrorists of Hamas than with the civilized pluralists of Israel.
This does not surprise you, I suspect. Most Americans with common sense knew from the start that this was an exercise in futility. We prefer the NBA playoffs because this Palestinian sitcom has been on in reruns longer than I Love Lucy. The only thing that would generate some interest at this point would be if the State Department sponsored a contest for the best name for this series. How I Met Your Motherland? Enemies? Cheerless (where everyone knows the address to send the martyrdom bonus)? The Vile Vile Vest?
The big question is not why the Palestinians behave the way they do. This system, if that is the word for it, has been a boon for them for many years. For the bosses at least, if not for the rank and file. They have turned victimhood into an international art form. They are celebrated in all the trendier salons, the toast of the world’s poseurs. Samuel Johnson got it wrong when he said patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. The Palestinians have shown that refugeeism is the last patriotism of the scoundrel.
No, the real question we should be troubled by is simple: why is our political class so oblivious of the obvious? Why are we treated to this absurd spectacle over and over again in the second term of every American President of either party? Suddenly every President is a Solomon and every Secretary of State is a Bismarck. They are going to bring peace, Shalom, nirvana, utopia, you name it. Every single solitary time we elect someone to a second sojourn in the Oval Office.
It is time to catch ourselves, to shake off the illusion. No one comes to make peace by demanding that mass murderers of civilians and children be freed. No one comes to make peace by welcoming those murderers home with victory parades. No one comes to make peace by naming streets and plazas after such murderers and their exploits.
If I was the President of the United States I would announce that all talks with the Palestinians should be suspended indefinitely, only to be resumed when the Palestinians concede that terrorist murderers must remain in jail. Instead they prefer to free some murderers and make pacts with others. These are not very nice people, or at the very least they are not people committed to behaving very nicely. It is time to leave them to their own devices, among which plowshares are the least in use.