One thing that really struck us during last week’s proceedings at the UN was how little respect the Palestinian leadership has for the United States. Earlier last week, when Hamas announced that it supported Mahmoud Abbas’ move (which previously it hadn’t), Hamas leader Khaled Mashal praised Abbas, in particular, for having the guts to against America.
Keeping in mind that the US is essentially the West Bank’s pied piper, it’s truly astounding that Abbas would so brashly ignore America’s position. In 2012, the United States will have given Abbas’ Palestinian Authority an estimated $513 million in aid and yet Abbas didn’t seem to lose any sleep over disregarding America’s wishes. For once we find ourselves agreeing with the Hamas leader, it’s pretty damn gutsy.
And we’re left with the obvious question: Who will pick up the bill? If US lawmakers chose to cut off funding the PA, will those many, many Palestinian sympathizers suddenly loosen their purse strings?
Will grandiose Turkey, so busy jockeying for regional power that it doesn’t recognize its own hypocrisy, starting paying PA salaries? We found Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s speech last week’s almost the most laughable. If only Davutoğlu had as much empathy for the Kurds in his own country and respected their right to self-determination…But then criticizing Israel has proven unbelievably useful when it comes to diverting attention from one’s own problems, or avoiding any kind of self-examination.
But as we recently commented, what’s new at the UN?
We just hope that Netanyahu isn’t following Abbas’ example of recklessly disregarding the wishes of the United States. We understand that Israel is frustrated with Abbas, the Palestinian Authority, and, frankly, the world. And we also understand that the plans for the expansion in the “E-1” area near Ma’ale Adumim has been long on the books, and that Israel made it clear that this would be the next step should the move at the UN go.
We understand Israel’s resentment at the double standard: Abbas can do what one-sided moves he likes and is praised, but when Netanyahu does the same he is villainized for sabotaging the peace process.
We understand this, and even empathize, but we still feel there’s an element of playground logic at work.
Netanyahu must not alienate Israel’s allies. The US, especially in this most recent phase, has been incredibly supportive of Israel, and Netanyahu should respect that.
Furthermore, Netanyahu’s announcement plays into the hands of Israel’s detractors, taking the focus right away off of the highfalutin promises Abbas made in his UN speech. Instead of announcing settlement expansion, why doesn’t Netanyahu lay down the gauntlet, and challenge Abbas to live up to his UN speech, which was riddled with lofty (and it looks like empty) promises about wanting peace?