Harvey Oberfeld

Keeping it Real…

September 14, 2020

The Palestinians could have their own state within a year … self-governed, enjoying billions of dollars in world aid and investment, on the road to prosperity, and living in peace with ALL their neighbours … IF their leaders wanted it.

Instead, they wallow in poverty, endure widespread corruption, are daily fed hatred that pollute their children’s minds, celebrates violence and produces failure after failure … while their leaders fill their own pockets, deny them democracy, violate their human rights.

And do NOTHING to get back to the negotiating table and achieve peace.

Finally, growing numbers of even their fellow Arab/Muslim states have had enough!

Tuesday, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will put their signatures to Peace Agreements with Israel, joining Muslim nations Egypt, Turkey and Jordan in establishing diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

Other Muslim-majority states, including Sudan, Morocco, Oman and Kosovo, are also reportedly very close to recognizing Israel … or in fact already are in regular contact and co-operate together behind the scenes.

And how’s this for a very major significant change: after the UAE/Israel announced diplomatic and economic co-operation, Saudi Arabia not only granted Israeli commercial aircraft permission to fly over the Kingdom on their way to the UAE … but anywhere else they fly as well!

This is on top of contacts (co-operation?) Saudi/Israeli officials … both civilian and military … already have privately. Shhh!

Why the changes?

We know the US has been pressuring Arab states to establish peace with Israel (especially before the US election to bolster Donald Trump’s campaign) … promising military aid and aircraft upgrades; we also know the fear of Iran has driven several Arab states to realize intelligence and even security and military co-operation with the Israelis would be to their own advantage.

But there’s more: Israel has become a hugely successful economic, agricultural, scientific and, most importantly, high-tech, well developed and advanced innovating nation … and their Arab neighbours see great potential/possibilities there for themselves in working together, co-operating, and investing.

Arab leaders also know Israel and the PLO once came very close to a Peace Accord, reportedly reaching 95% agreement on reworked border boundaries, land swaps, security controls and even a financial arrangement … but the divided Palestinian leaders rejected it.

Now Hamas in Gaza continues to pursue its terroristic practices, ruling by fear, with various factions still digging tunnels and firing rockets and incendiary bombs across the border into Israel, while Fatah in the West Bank rules over a corrupt governance and economic system, still actively cultivates hate, rewards terrorists and demands a return to 1967 borders, right up to the edge of Israel’s cities, when Palestinian terrorists and snipers regularly shot Israelis nearby and infiltrators almost at will slaughtered people in restaurants, on buses and even schools and kindergartens.

Israel will NEVER let that again happen.

More and more Arab/Muslim nations realize it’s the Palestinian leaders who are simply not ready for peace … so are pursuing their own interests.

Fuming Palestinian officials, claiming betrayal, couldn’t even get a meeting of the Arab League last week to nominally condemn the UAE decision to recognize Israel. It was an amazing and embarrassing rebuke for the PLO: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/09/arab-league-ministers-agree-condemn-uae-israel-deal-200909141524785.html

The world IS changing … and it’s about time the Palestinian leaders realize more and nations have tired of: their decades-long rejection of any peace negotiations (demanding so many pre-conditions, making them doomed to fail or not even start); their refusals to stop the violence, halt their rocket attacks; and their financially rewarding of terrorists and their families.

While ordinary Palestinian families suffer in poverty and despair.

And the cancerous influences of Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas etc. bring the poor Palestinian people NOTHING! No victory! No peace! No jobs! No prosperity!

How do their leaders get away with this?

There are no free democratic elections in either the West Bank nor Gaza; if anyone stands up to Fatah or Hamas and tries to organize an Opposition movement/party … well, let’s just say it does not go well for them!

All of that is particularly sad because, if left to the Palestinian people themselves, I believe there would be a peace agreement achieved, and even cooperation and business relationships and partnerships with Israel within a year … benefitting both societies!

What many here don’t realize is that as many as 70,000 Palestinians (pre-Covid) from the West Bank already had jobs inside Israel, many of them crossing the border back and forth daily; agriculture products from Gaza are exported to/through Israel; natural gas and electricity from Israel fuels Palestinian homes … including Gaza; and more than 200 garment factories in Gaza and the West Bank manufacture and sell clothing, (including Covid protective masks) etc. in Israel.

With peace, billions of dollars of foreign aid and investments would pour into Palestine … fueling the economy, providing jobs and leading to a vibrant tourism industry, highlighting religious sites dear to all three Abrahamic religion and even construction of resorts along miles of Gaza’s beautiful coastline beaches attracting vacationing Europeans, Jordanians, Egyptians and even Israelis!

But first, the Palestinians have to work out their own conflicts between Fatah and Hamas … and then BOTH factions have to want/agree to accept/establish peace with Israel!

Virtually impossible, given the current Palestinian realities: other Arab nations know that and are tired of waiting.

So are moving on.

Next Saturday is Jewish New Year (Rosh Hoshanah).

My wish for my Jewish readers and the rest of the world as well: Peace for Israel with all its neighbours.

And the signing of TWO more Peace Agreements this week is certainly a step in the right direction!

May several others follow soon.

Harv Oberfeld

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