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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Today's variant of the If/Then Fallacy

Last year I wrote about the If/Then Fallacy, the idea that if Israel would do various actions towards peace then naturally the other side would be forced to act in a certain way.

I found a 1988 example from Time magazine (If Israel would put together a serious peace plan then no one could fault Israel if the Palestinian Arabs rejected it.)

Since then we have seen it many other times: If Israel withdraws behind the Blue Line in Lebanon, then Hezbollah has no raison d'etre. If Israel withdraws from Gaza, then Gaza will cease to be a problem for Israel. And so on.

Today, in Israel HaYom, Dan Margalit creates his own version:
Should Israel give up its justified stance that it has the right to be recognized as a Jewish state? This would allow it to tear the mask from Abbas' face and prove that he is not interested in negotiations but only in a unilateral U.N. declaration. It would prove that he is disregarding both Barack Obama and the New York Times which both called on him to refrain from such a move.

In my opinion this is a worthwhile diplomatic gamble. Three years ago Dan Meridor gave Ha'aretz his Camp David journals for publication. They clearly prove that Yasser Arafat torpedoed the Israel-Palestinian agreement and not Ehud Barak. When the protocols of their meetings are made public, it will also emerge that it wasn't Ehud Olmert who subverted the agreement in 2009 but Abu Mazen. That is what will happen, to my sorrow and to the delight of the extreme right, if Netanyahu gives Abu Mazen a little more rope. The world will then see, for the third time in a dozen years, that the Palestinians' diplomatic behavior pattern hasn't changed.
Even according to Margalit, the world has already seen that it was Arafat and Abbas who have torpedoed negotiations - and it has not negatively affected the Palestinian Arab political position one whit.

If the world gave Arafat and Abbas a free pass after showing their dishonorable intentions twice, why would proving it a third time make any difference? The only thing that would be accomplished is that Israel would lose yet another of its negotiating positions, permanently. All to prove a point that would have zero effect on how the world views Israel or the duplicitous Palestinian Arab leadership.

The if/then fallacy is based on the idea that the Palestinian Arabs really want peace - something that was proven false, decisively, with the second intifada as a response to a very serious peace offer (not to mention their refusal to negotiate after Israel's even more generous and foolhardy offer in 2008.)

If the international community doesn't get that basic fact by now, it is not for lack of evidence - it is because the world chooses to ignore it. And no amount of Israeli genuflecting will change that.

On the contrary - every time Israel even hints at such a compromise, it is viewed by others as evidence that even Israel doesn't believe in the justness of its own positions.