Tuesday, November 17, 2020

  • Tuesday, November 17, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Palestinians have now said that they would accept the money Israel owes them for tax revenues, and will resume coordination with Israel, after stopping both in June when Benjamin Netanyahu made noises about annexing part of Judea and Samaria.

That annexation never happened, but Netanyahu didn't say it was permanently off the table, so the Palestinian leadership couldn't resume the previous arrangements - without losing its "honor."

Meanwhile, it went further and further into debt, it slashed salaries of public workers, and it pretended that it would have elections or unify with Hamas - all while hoping that Biden would win and they would have a little leverage against Israel.

Still, there was the honor issue. How to reverse this policy and appear to have won? 

Today, they announced that things will go back to the way they were before June.

The PA's civil affairs minister Hussein Al-Sheikh said that "in light of the international contacts made by President Mahmoud Abbas regarding Israel's commitment to the agreements signed with it, and based on the official written and oral messages we received, confirming Israel's commitment to that, the relationship with Israel will be resumed."

PA prime minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said that the Palestinian Authority received a document from Israel pledging to abide by existing agreements.

Some five months of pain could have been avoided if the PA was not so hung up on "honor."  This honor/shame mentality is truly the main obstacle for peace in the Middle East. The PLO is literally willing to make their people suffer so as to avoid perceived shame - even though no one in the world would have blinked if the PA had accepted the funds in August after Israel said it was putting the annexation plans on hold. 

That is the refreshing part of the normalization with the UAE. There is no shame there. On the contrary, the Emiratis seem eager to take advantage of peace with Israel to create win/win scenarios. 

To the PA, a win/win scenario is a violation of honor - the enemy must appear to have lost. This is why they are making up a story about Israel signing an agreement to abide by existing agreements. Maybe some Israeli minister scribbled something on a Post-it Note to make the Palestinians feel that they won, but there was almost certainly nothing official from Israel. It is as if the PA insisted that someone throw a shoe at an Israeli flag and Israel said, sure, if that makes you happy. 

In a sense, BDS is also an "honor" initiative. The BDSers insist it is shameful to treat Israelis as normal human beings and they use shame to keep people in line. 

It used to work. It doesn't any more. The sooner the Palestinians learn that the only ones being hurt by their fake pride is their own people, and take responsibility for it, the sooner everyone benefits. 

UPDATE: Here's the letter Israel sent to the Palestinians. As I suspected, it simply says that Israel never stopped abiding with the existing agreement, and it was the Palestinians that changed the rules. But the Palestinians are reading this as a huge honor win.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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