A failure in the upcoming US-sponsored Middle East peace conference would have more dangerous repercussions than the botched Camp David summit in 2000, Fatah officials warned on Tuesday.Once again, it is time for the old mind game: How would the world react if Israeli officials said "Palestinian Arabs must accept our demands or we will wage war against their civilians"? This is what the moderate, Abbas-oriented Fatah says explicitly, and their desire for peace is nonexistent unless they dictate 100% of the terms on Israel.
This was the first time senior Fatah officials hinted at a possible wave of violence if the conference - expected to be held in Annapolis, Maryland, next month - did not meet the Palestinians' demands.
"If we don't prepare well for the conference so that it will result in something positive, the repercussions will be more dangerous than what happened after the failure of Camp David," said Azzam al-Ahmed, head of the Fatah parliamentary list. He is closely associated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Another top Fatah official warned against raising expectations on the eve of the conference. He pointed out that the second intifada erupted a few months after the Camp David summit.
"People then had high expectations," the official told The Jerusalem Post. "But then they realized that Israel was not serious about achieving peace with the Palestinians. The failure of next month's conference could bring another catastrophe upon us."
Hafez Barghouti, editor of the Fatah-controlled Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda daily, said pent-up frustration among the Palestinians could be vented if the US-sponsored event failed.
"Those who want the conference to succeed know the conditions for success," he said. "But those who want this fall's conference to be followed by a fall of wrath know the size of the accumulated anger [among Palestinians]."
Israel does not help its cause by being wishy-washy on its own red lines, which seem to move wildly every week. The Palestinian Arab "bargaining" position has not changed one bit since Camp David, which means that they still regard the intifada as a great victory for themselves and they feel that they are in the driver's seat. Meanwhile, Israel already gave up some of its best bargaining chips (Gaza and some settlements) unilaterally - and now we see how that "goodwill" is being repaid.