February 20, 2005 - Mohammed Dahlan, former Palestinian Authority Security Minister and an expected key player in the new Palestinian cabinet, has warned Israel that the Palestinians will continue their attacks if Israel does not withdraw from the Philadelphia Route.
The Philadelphia Route, just 50 yards wide, marks the border between Gaza and Egypt. The Oslo Accords granted Israel control over this route. Even after withdrawing from Gaza Israel will need to patrol this route because Palestinian terrorists have been smuggling arms across the Egyptian border, and this is still a threat.
Since Arafat's death the Palestinians have tried to position themselves in the public mind as peacemakers. But if they were really for peace, they would support Israel's plan to withdraw from Gaza, instead of making threats that might very well destroy this plan. If Israel cannot withdraw from Gaza safely, it may decide that leaving the area free for terrorist arms shipments is not worth the risk.
The Palestinian strategy is becoming clear, and it has not changed. Declare a hudna, a ceasefire not intended to last, and when it fails make Israel take the blame by imposing demands that cannot be fulfilled. These demands include release of thousands of prisoners with a violent history who would be bound to return to terrorism. The Palestinians insist on this dangerous measure as a gesture of Israel's "good will," while offering no tangible benefit to Israel. The classic Palestinian entrapment demand is the unrestricted right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israel, upon which Mahmoud Abbas still strongly insists. This demand means creating two Palestinian states and eliminating Israel, yet Israel's failure to comply is taken as a justification for violence. And now the Palestinians continue to threaten Israel if it insists on taking basic security measures in Gaza.
This is how the bloody Palestinian terrorist war began. No matter what Israel does, raise the bar of demands higher so that Israel has no chance of complying, then launch a terrorist campaign saying the Israelis asked for it. If the Palestinians were truly interested in peace, they would not threaten violence every time Israel refuses to comply with an unreasonable demand. That is no peace process. The right thing to do is to bring all concerns to the negotiating table. This latest ploy is only further evidence of Palestinian duplicity.
But why should the Palestinians negotiate, if their strategy seems to be working? The Palestinian Disinformation Campaign has succeeded in persuading many people of Israel's guilt, in spite of peace offers Israel has made that the Palestinians have ignored, in spite of persistent Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians, and in spite of Israel's current plans for withdrawal. Nothing is ever enough. So just declare a ceasefire, make its conditions impossible to satisfy, then blame the other side when you violate it.
The real losers, however, are the Palestinian people. Their terrorist intifada has destroyed their economy and caused them great losses, including their own children recruited into senseless suicide bombing. And still it continues. Even with Arafat gone, we are still waiting for the Palestinians to send a genuine signal for peace.
Abu Toameh, Khaled. "Dahlan Threatens Continued Attacks." Jerusalem Post, February 19, 2005.
Peace with Realism