Daoud Kuttab’s commentary (“The end of Abbas’s peace policy,” July 17) ranges from erroneous to delusional.
Kuttab claims the latest Israel-Hamas fighting endangers “the chance of peace between Palestine and Israel under Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.”
But it was Abbas who walked away from a 2008 Israeli offer of a new country of Palestine on more than 95 percent of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with its capital in eastern Jerusalem, in exchange for peace. It was Abbas who declared during this spring’s shuttle by Secretary of State John Kerry that he would not embrace a two-state solution, Palestine and Israel, if it meant accepting Israel as a Jewish state.
Kuttab asserts “Abbas has been unswerving in his efforts to clean up [anti-Israel] incitement on the official Palestinian TV channels … [and] worked hard to ensure that a culture of peace and tolerance exists” among Palestinian Arabs. Palestinian Authority Television and other official media routinely praise murderers of Jews as “martyrs.” A typical column in the July 12 edition of the PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, by an official of Abbas’ Fatah party, reiterated the classic libel that Jews require the blood of non-Jews—in this case Palestinian children—for Passover matzoh and claimed all Israel as part of “Palestine.”
The columnist describes Israel’s response to “largely amateur rockets” from Gaza as “disproportionate.” Since Israel withdrew from the Strip in 2005, dismantling 21 settlements home to 9,000 people and removing all military forces, approximately 10,000 mortars and rockets have been fired at it from Gaza, including recently some Iranian-supplied missiles that can reach much of the country.
Instead of precisely targeted counter-attacks, often proceeding by warnings to non-combatants, what does Kuttab imagine would be “proportionate”—10,000 Israeli rockets fired randomly into Gaza?
Kuttab insists that Israeli-Palestinian violence potentially has far greater repercussions for Middle Eastern stability than much larger and deadlier intra-Arab wars in Syria and Iraq. This inversion enables him to evade the regional and potentially global destabilization caused by competing Sunni and Shiite extremisms and to omit Iran’s race toward nuclear weapons altogether.