Supporters of the new-old idea of “regional peace” ignore the hostility and mutual suspicion between the Palestinians and their Arab brethren. Abu-Mazin and his group prefer to see the European countries alongside them, in the hope that they will impose on Israel a “solution”
The Palestinians, however, hastened to dismiss the idea as another American-Israeli-Arab conspiracy to liquidate their interests and force them into unacceptable concessions. A major part of these “unacceptable concessions” is the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and the renunciation of the right of return of millions of Palestinian refugees to Israel.
What the American-Israeli idea of ’regional peace’ misses is that the Palestinians simply do not trust their Arab brethren. Most Palestinians see Arab leaders and regimes as “puppets” by the United States and its “Zionist” allies and, worse, many Palestinians sometimes refer to Arab leaders and regimes as if they were their real enemies and prefer France, Sweden, Norway and Belgium to oversee a peace process with Israel, And not one of the Arab countries.
In general, Palestinians trust Western countries more than their Arab brethren. This is why the Palestinian Authority, headed by Abu Mazin, continues to insist on an international conference as the preferred method for achieving peace in the region, rather than a “regional approach” that will give the Arab states a central role in resolving the conflict. Arab involvement in the peace process with Israel is in fact the last thing Abu Mazen and the Palestinians are interested in.
Oppose normalization with Israel
Israel as a Jewish state is anathema to Palestinian aspirations. No Arab leader in the world can persuade the Palestinians to give up the right of return or to accept a solution that allows Israel to retain control over certain parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Every Arab or Palestinian leader who promotes such a compromise will take his own life, and Palestinian history will remember him as a “traitor” who sold his soul to the Jews and succumbed to American and Israeli pressures.
Moreover, Abu Mazin and the Palestinian Authority are far from interested in any Arab-Israeli rapprochement. The Palestinian chairman and his Ramallah group are already sleepy because of the talks between Israel and several Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states, which is literally “normalization.” In the eyes of the Palestinian Authority, such normalization will only take place after Israel surrenders to its demands.
PA Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki said this week that the Palestinians rejected the idea of a “regional solution” that would give the Arabs a role in the peace process. According to him, Netanyahu erred in thinking that the rapprochement between Israel and some of the Arab states would produce some positive result. Al-Malki condemned the Israeli Prime Minister’s “regional approach” as “a distorted policy,” adding: “Netanyahu believes he can force the Palestinians to enter into negotiations by forging ties with Arab governments.” According to him, the Palestinians want to see alongside them when they negotiate with Israel the Europeans, not the Arab states.
The Palestinian foreign minister says that when it comes to an attempt to gradually destroy Israel, the Palestinians prefer to see the Europeans and not their Arab brethren in their lot. It seems to the Palestinians that this is a safer bet.
One way or another, any “regional solution” involving Arab states is doomed to failure, as the Palestinians and their Arab brothers hate each other. Moreover, even if Abu Mazen had agreed to the terms such an alliance would have dictated to him, his people would have rejected them. Any solution proposed by the Arab governments will always be considered an ‘American-Zionist dictum’.
Here is what the Palestinians really want: to use the Europeans to impose a ‘solution’ on Israel. This is why Abu-Mazen sticks to the idea of an international conference like a dog clinging to its essence in a frenzied way.