An interesting piece from the Canadian Jewish News:
When prominent Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh recently briefed U.S. President Barack Obama for two hours in Chicago, he told Obama that when the West gives money to the Palestinians, it shouldn’t be without strings. “Before the United States gives money to [PA Leader Mahmoud] Abbas, it needs to hold him accountable. Why not demand that he shows he is willing to have a free press or dismantle terror groups?… even if he only does 10 per cent of what he’s asked, we’ve made progress,” said Abu Toameh, who spoke to a very diverse audience at Winnipeg’s Millennium Library.
“If I were [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, I wouldn’t give one inch of land to the PA’s [President] Mahmoud Abbas, because anything you give him would end up in the hands of Hamas,” he said. Abu Toameh clarified that ideologically, he thinks Palestinians are entitled to statehood, but he says that “neither Hamas nor Fatah are partners” that Israel can negotiate a peace agreement with right now.
“There is a two-state solution. The Palestinians now have two states: one in Gaza and one in the West Bank,” he said, adding that the only realistic course of action right now is “conflict management.” He said that in “Gaza, we have a mini Islamic republic funded by Iran. And in the West Bank, we have a powerless, corrupt leadership made up of Yasser Arafat cronies who have no credibility because they never initiated any political reforms,” Abu Toameh said.
He added that he doesn’t think Palestinians are ready for a state, since they “need to end lawlessness and anarchy.” As he said, “A Palestinian state is something you earn by establishing good [democratic] institutions and building it.”
Abu Toameh, the son of a West Bank Palestinian woman and an Arab-Israeli man, started his career working for a PLO-run newspaper in east Jerusalem. He went to Hebrew University of Jerusalem, then decided to work with international media. During the second intifada in 2000, when Jewish Israeli journalists stopped going to the Palestinian territories, Abu Toameh was approached by the Jerusalem Post to cover the area.
The audience laughed when he said, “So you see I started out as a journalist for the PLO and ended up at the Jerusalem Post.” In an interview, Abu Toameh told The CJN that if elections were held in the West Bank today, Hamas would win. “In local elections three years ago, Hamas won in Nablus, in Ramallah – the capital of Palestinian secularism – and even Bethlehem… Hamas would win because Fatah has blocked internal reforms. They have not changed their list of candidates… Mahmoud Abbas hasn’t gone to a Palestinian refugee camp since he came to power… He’s afraid of his own people… Also, international sanctions on Hamas seem to have had a boomerang effect.”
Abu Toameh noted that Fatah says it supports a two-state solution when its representatives speak to western media. “But in Arabic, you hear conflicting voices among Fatah – one Fatah leader [Mohammed Dahlan] recently said that Fatah never recognized Israel… Sometimes Fatah’s message in Arabic contradicts the message in English,” he said.
When asked if there’s a difference in the content of television under Fatah or Hamas, Abu Toameh said, “ In Arabic they are both bad… There is very little difference between the two.” He further noted that a child watching “five minutes” of either Fatah- or Hamas-run television would learn to hate Jews and Israel.
Looking back, Abu Toameh said that one of former U.S. President George W. Bush’s most significant mistakes was that that he allowed Hamas to take part in Palestinian elections in 2006, against Israel’s advice, without first putting certain conditions on Hamas, “such as demanding they recognize Israel’s right to exist, and abandon terror.”
In other words, Bush ignored logical advice about Hamas, and now Obama is repeating that mistake. But then, what do they care? It’s Israelis that suffer as a result of this carelessness. And if there’s one thing Obama doesn’t give a damn about, it’s Israel. That much he’s made crystal clear.