Over ten years ago I wrote an article called "The Diplomacy of Fear":
For decades, the Arab world specifically and the Muslim world in general has used threats as its main leverage to get the West to bend to its will. The threats aren't usually direct; most often they take the form of "if you don't do what we want, the Arab street will erupt" or "the terrorists will have an excuse." In other words, if Arab thugocracies do not get what they desire from the West, then they will be powerless to stop the irrational forces within their borders from damaging Western interests.I have given lots of examples, one as early as 1877:
Since the commencement of war between Russia and Turkey, the world has several times been startled by the announcement that the "Flag of the prophet" was about to be unfurled in the streets of Stanbul. Such an event, if it should happen (which may Heaven avert), would proclaim a crusade in which all true Musslemans would be bound to take an active part and to fight against Christianity in every part of the world. They may be in India, Arabia, Egypt or wherever else their scattered race has found a home; the raising of the green standard is a call in which none may disobey without, as the Koran lays it down, sacrificing all his hopes of Paradise.Up through a British denial to save the lives of 20,000 Jews in 1939:
This fearful appeal to all the worst passions of the Eastern races hangs like a menace over the Mohammedan world; and if the word was once uttered and the dreadful flag unfurled, there is no telling to what sanguinary excesses it might lead an enthusiastic people.
Documents show that after deciding that the move would upset Arab opinion, Britain decided to abandon the Jewish refugees to their fate.And it is happening today - with the issue of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
“His Majesty’s Government asked His Majesty’s Representatives in Cairo, Baghdad and Jeddah whether so far as they could judge, feelings in Egypt, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia against the admission of, say 5,000 Jewish children for adoption… would be so strong as to lead to a refusal to send representatives to the London discussions. All three replies were strongly against the proposal, which was not proceeded with,” a Foreign Office report said.
The PA tells the West that the entire Arab world will erupt in violence, even though an embassy to the western side of the Green Line changes nothing. And even though Palestinians themselves don't really care.
The Jerusalem Post asked Arabs in the capital what they thought about the move:
[A] cross-section of Palestinians outside the Old City’s Damascus Gate on Wednesday expressed overwhelming apathy.This is problematic to the PA. So while they tell the West that the Arabs will go crazy, they are inciting the Arabs to act that way:
Indeed, more than two dozen Arab passersby of all ages entering or exiting the once volatile east Jerusalem entrance either said they were unaware of the proposal or simply did not care.
Asked his reaction to the possible relocation, Hasan, a Palestinian man in his 60s, who requested his last name not be published, responded: “It does not matter to me. Why should I care about where the US Embassy is located? It does not change my life one bit.”
Fadi Kiswane, 18, who sat with several friends on the stone steps outside the historic gate, said he was unaware where the embassy was currently located.
“The US Embassy is in Tel Aviv?” he asked with genuine incredulity. “And they want to move it to Jerusalem? So what?”
Donned in a scarlet hijab, Marrah Sofian, who is training to become a secretary at an area vocational school, also said she was unaware where the embassy was located, or that there is ongoing discussion about moving it to Jerusalem.
“This is news to me,” she said. “I don’t understand why it matters though. I don’t think most residents of east Jerusalem know or care about this.”
Meanwhile, a burly Palestinian cab driver in his 40s, who refused to provide his name, brushed off the question as “stupid.”
“Don’t waste my time with such unimportant things,” he said heatedly. “I have better things to think about.”
On Friday the issue was the chief subject of religious sermons throughout the West Bank, with Palestinian Authority leadership instructing mosques it controls to focus on the matter, Israel Radio reported.
Official Palestinian television also broadcast excerpts from several such sermons, in which clerics urged their followers to wake up to the danger. One warned relocating the embassy would be an attack on the Muslim faith and against history. Another said it was an assault on Islam’s holy place and on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The PA also instructed Jordanian leaders to buttress their threat, and Jordan's Information Minister was happy to oblige:
Jordan's government spokesman warned on Thursday of "catastrophic" repercussions if President-elect Donald Trump makes good on a campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to contested Jerusalem.Is any of this based in fact? Of course not. The Arab street wouldn't erupt over this issue - unless they are incited to by the very people who are "warning" the West about their "spontaneous" anger.
Such a move could affect relations between the U.S. and regional allies, including Jordan, Information Minister Mohammed Momani told The Associated Press, addressing the issue publicly for the first time.
An embassy move would be a "red line" for Jordan, would "inflame the Islamic and Arab streets" and serve as a "gift to extremists," he said, adding that Jordan would use all possible political and diplomatic means to try and prevent such a decision.
But John Kerry happily parrots Saeb Erekat's threats of "chaos, lawlessness and extremism:"
Moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would cause “an explosion” in the region and have a detrimental effect on Israel’s relationships with Jordan and Egypt, outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry said over the weekend.The Arab world is used to bullying the West with threats about the "Arab street". Too many Westerners have been willing to throw Israel under the bus rather than worry about whether these threats have any basis in reality.
In an interview with CBS News on Friday, Kerry said the move promised by President-elect Donald Trump would cause “an explosion, an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank, and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region.”
It would also “have profound impact on the readiness of Jordan and Egypt to be able to be supportive and engaged with Israel as they are today,” he warned.
In this case, we see the direct incitement to people who otherwise wouldn't care one bit about the issue. To give in to these "threats" is the absolute worst thing that can be done, because it emboldens these wannabe bullies to use those same threats again and again.
But there is an easy solution to Abbas' and Erekat's constant threats.
Donald Trump should call Erekat into his office - Erekat is dying to speak to him already. And he should say these words:
You know as well as I do that the US has every legal and moral right to move the embassy to Jerusalem and that it does not affect the chances for peace one bit. But you claim that your people cannot stop themselves from violence if the US does something that is fully within our rights. And you imply that you cannot stop this inevitable violence.
If that is the case, then by your own admission, your people are not mature enough to be trusted to uphold a peace plan or run a state of their own. Any violence of this type would set back your cause by years.
If in fact, as reports indicate, your leaders are the ones inciting the violence as a means to pressure me, I do not take kindly to such threats. I hold you and Mahmoud Abbas personally responsible for any terror attacks that occur while your own media and your own mosques and your own textbooks are supporting hate and terror. And in this case, the evidence that your leaders have been trying to incite your people against the US Government is pretty compelling.
I am a negotiator. I like to make deals. Threatening me by claiming that your people are irrational is a negotiating tactic, and I appreciate that. But keep in mind that it cuts both ways.
You have a choice. You can continue to act as if your people are unable to act like human beings, or you can act as if your people are human beings with responsibility for their actions. If you continue to pretend and goad your people into acting like animals, then you belong in a zoo, not a state of your own. If, on the other hand, you can demonstrate a level of maturity that is consistent with being a leader of a people who truly want independence and you stop using threats of violence to get your way, the United States - and I presume Israel - will be only too happy to negotiate with you as normal adults do.
The choice is yours. Please relay that message to Mahmoud Abbas.