PA’s way a parody
Every now and then, at regular intervals of publicly bemoaned protestations of victimhood, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has demanded tangible displays of “confidence-building measures” from Israel. Occasionally, not always – usually when the United States privately echoes those PA protests – the government of Israel complies. It invariably releases Palestinian prisoners, decreases the number of roadblocks on roads from the West Bank leading into Israel or increases trade, commercial or other permits for Palestinian businessmen, entrepreneurs and merchants.
But the reverse has never happened – at least not since September 1993 in Washington, D.C., when a Palestinian leader actually signed a document witnessed by the president of the United States rejecting violence and committing his people to a peaceful resolution of their conflict with Israel. That leader, alas, soon proved himself to be a liar. And the Palestinians have seldom, if ever, extended any confidence-building measures toward the people of Israel since then.
In fact, the Palestinian leadership regularly does the opposite. It diminishes the level of confidence that the “ordinary” Israeli yearns to feel toward them.
Last week, we saw the latest dispiriting, confidence-destroying behaviour.
Following the precedent of the infamous Goldstone inquiry for which the PA clamoured after Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza in 2008, the PA sought and obtained last Thursday from the 47-member United Nations Human Rights Council the establishment of an “independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem.”
Like the tainted, corrupt body that created it, like the discredited inquiry into Israel’s conduct in the Gaza war, this latest UN inquiry of Israel conduct will be a travesty to truth, a sick parody and a wound to real concern over human rights abuses around the world.
In response to the council vote, Israel’s foreign ministry said: “The Palestinians must understand that they can’t have it both ways: they can’t enjoy co-operation with Israel and at the same time initiate political clashes in international forums. Had the Palestinians wanted to solve the settlements issue, they would resume without delay a direct and unconditional negotiation on all core issues within the framework of a comprehensive agreement.” Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, in condemning the council vote, effectively agreed. “We continue to call for direct negotiations between the two parties without preconditions.”
So do we. So should all governments and people who seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians.