I wish that I could say that I was inspired by the words of Mahmoud Abbas at the UN General Assembly to believe that peace may be achieved soon. I cannot. The problem begins with a wanton disregard of history by the Palestinians and therefore a lack of understanding of the lessons taught by history. Here is an example. Abbas stated that:
The goal of peace… is embodied in redressing the historic, unprecedented injustice that has befallen the Palestinian people in Al-Nakba of 1948, and the realization of a just peace, the fruits of which can be enjoyed by the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, as well as by all the peoples of our region.
In what reality could one argue, even from the perspective of an occupied people, that what happened in 1948 to the Palestinians is an “unprecedented injustice?” In what reality is that the case? Certainly not in a reality in which for the last 2,700 plus years the very land in question has been repeatedly occupied. Certainly not in a world where nations have been overrun and destroyed time and again, populations exiled. Certainly not speaking of the Jewish people, a people whose Tikvah, whose hope, was the return to our native land. This is a historian? Unprecedented? Not even close.
Abbas went on to represent the peace process as functionally a negotiation of Israel’s surrender in the 1967 war and the Palestinian acceptance of what might have been in 1948:
The objective of the negotiations is to secure a lasting peace accord that leads immediately to the establishment of the independence of a fully sovereign State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all of the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, so that it may live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel, and the resolution of the plight of Palestine refugees in a just agreed upon solution, according to United Nations resolution 194, as called for by the Arab Peace Initiative.
Finally, rather than understanding that the promotion of the creation of a Palestinian state today, based upon 65 years of hostility to the existence of Israel, must include incremental steps, Abbas said:
Here, we reaffirm that we refuse to enter into a vortex of a new interim agreement that becomes eternalized, or to enter into transitional arrangements that will become a fixed rule rather than an urgent exception.
Abbas actually stated that:
What is required is to stop relying on exaggerated security pretexts and obsessions in order to consecrate occupation.
Again, in what reality does this man live? Not the one in which Israel has fought multiple wars and faces a multitude of threats from across its borders. Not one in which foreign jihadis fight in Syria and would in a moment fight in the Palestinian state. Not one in which the Holocaust was real. Of course, Abbas, as people too often ignore, does not believe that the Holocaust really happened the way that history records it and wrote his doctoral dissertation about that in fact.
Is it possible that negotiations will bear some fruit? Yes. It is just that after hearing Mahmoud Abbas clearly continuing to fight the decades old war through diplomatic means that his people has failed to win through violent ones, I just do not see it.