"Kaffir" put my Trivia Question post from yesterday on Reddit, and the first commenter asked:
Wow dude, what the hell is your angle, Israel is never going to get a more peaceful Palestinian leader than Abbas. Is that why you don't like him?
And in that single sentence, the commenter encapsulated the entire argument between the left and the right.
Should Abbas be judged on his words and actions, or relative to other Palestinian Arab leaders?
One side, that likes to say that you only make peace with your enemies, see Abbas as, at worst, flawed, but as the best chance for peace. Without him, peace is "doomed."
The other side looks at it in absolute terms, not relative terms. If Israel's most promising "peace partner" shows zero interest in compromise and has no problem publicly celebrating the most disgusting terrorists, why should he be considered a peace partner to begin with?
The question boils down to: what kind of peace can Abbas deliver? If he continues to insist on the "right to return" and on no territorial compromise, then he is not a peace partner by any definition - and he is proving that his interest in a state is less important than in what he calls "principles."
Realization of Palestinian Arab self-determination does not in itself necessarily compromise Israel's security. But Abbas' "principles" are about far more than a state - they are fundamentally opposed to Israel's existence as a Jewish state and to the very idea of Jewish self-determination. The human rights of Israelis to live in security and for the Jewish nation to practice its own right to self-determination are more important than Abbas' "principles," a point that the world does not understand.
Abbas conflates the right of Palestinian Arab self-determination - which does not necessarily mean statehood, incidentally - with his "principles" of 1949 armistice lines and "right to return" and, most probably, the right to have an army and invite Iran over for some tea and missiles.
His actions indicate that self-determination is not his goal, but the "principles" are - "principles" that were designed by Arafat to destroy Israel.
In other words, Abbas seems to look at "peace" as a Trojan horse to fulfill the wishes of his predecessors Arafat and the Mufti, not as a means to create a Palestinian Arab state.
Abbas' "peace" is in exact contradiction to real peace. It would result in more bloodshed on both sides than the status quo.
So the question is not whether to consider Abbas a peace partner because there is no more moderate alternative. The question is whether Abbas really is a peace partner to begin with and what his goals are - questions that he answers very explicitly and very often.
Just none of the advocates for "peace" are listening to his answers.