Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas played his ace Thursday and told Israeli leftist Knesset Members he will make the grand concession of giving up a “demand in the future to return to Jaffa, Acre or Haifa.”
The United States will jump on his statement, which in effect concedes the so-called “right of return,” as the greatest goodwill gesture since the deadly Oslo Accords, leaving Israel in a weak and almost defenseless corner in discussions with the Palestinian Authority.
Abbas previously has talked out of both sides of his mouth on the issue of flooding Israel with 5 million foreign Arabs who claim Israel as their home, based on the United Nations designation of “Arab refugees” even though they are three and four generations away from those who fled or were chased out of Israel in previous wars.
He has hinted several times that the demand is not realistic while telling Palestinian Authority Arabs it is a condition for an agreement with Israel.
With the resumed peace talks less than a month old, Abbas has taken the initiative and leaves Israel holding the bag of goodies that it now will be pressured to give up to match Abbas’ ostensible generosity.
Abbas has outfoxed Israel, which is not hard to do considering the deck of cards stacked in favor of the Palestinian Authority.
First, The United States, the European Union, Russia and the entire Muslim world considers Israel an “occupier.” It took Israel 45 years to come up with a much-too-late report of legal experts that Jews have every right to live anywhere they want in Judea and Samaria and all of Jerusalem, including areas occupied by Jordan between the War of Independence in 1948 and the Six-Day War in 1967.
Second, the United Nations has condemned millions of Arabs to be “refugees” by making them the only people in the world whose refugee status carries on from generation to generation.
Third, the United States has allowed the Palestinian Authority to ignore, time and time again, parts of the Oslo Agreements to the point that they are not even worth the paper on which they were signed. The only value of the document was for Yitzchak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, both of whom were crowned Nobel Peace Prize laureates, but that was before Arafat turned his Israeli-supplied rifles on Jews.
“The Palestinian people is ready for and wants peace,” Abbas told Knesset Members from the left-wing Meretz party in Ramallah Thursday. “We will not demand in the future to return to Jaffa, Acre or Haifa. Peace with Israel will be final and binding.”
By giving up the so-called “right of return,” a term that in itself is a perverted play on the Israeli term that for Jews all over the world to become citizens in Israel, Abbas has delivered a knockout punch to Israel.
All of Israel’s demands – security, United Jerusalem, and building for Jews in areas claimed by the Palestinian Authority – now will be seen as obstacles to peace.
Abbas has proven himself to be very clever, which is not very difficult to do considering the universal anti-Israel sentiment.
Ever since he was elected to take over from Arafat in the first and only election, Abbas shunned Arafat’s kefiyeh and pistol on the hip and globetrotted with a suit and tie.
He painstakingly drummed up international support, and last year he cashed in his chips by thumbing his nose at the United States, circumventing direct talks that had not existed since 2010, and going to the United Nations General Assembly for a non-binding recognition as a country based on all of its political and territorial demands.
His meeting on Thursday with Meretz MKs takes the direct discussions with Israel out of the realm of secret talks. He has been making noise the past several days that the discussions are not going anywhere.
The Arab world’s demand to flood Israeli with foreign Arabs, as formulated in the Saudi Peace Initiative of 2002, has been considered as a ploy to end Israel as a Jewish state.
It also has been assumed that the Arab world would not agree to give up the condition, but it is not coincidental that Abbas flew to Saudi Arabia last week.
Abbas’ statements that were reported Thursday night will make him out to be a partner for peace. Israel has made hundreds of concessions over the years, but they now are forgotten and are useless in the diplomatic war that Abbas is winning.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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