You have to have a good sense of humor to cover the Middle East. Take this for example, from the Jerusalem Post:
Palestinian advocates are warning that a new US Senate amendment dictating a reporting requirement on the issue of Palestinian refugees could set back efforts to reach a peace deal.
The amendment to a bill, recently approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, mandates that the secretary of state must report how many of the Palestinians serviced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency fled or left homes in Israel during the War of Independence and how many are only their descendants.
“It’s very dangerous. It can have a very bad reaction on the ground,” said Ghaith Al- Omari, a former foreign policy advisor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas now with the American Task Force on Palestine. “It will just make any US ability to push for a responsible solution suspect in the eyes of the Palestinians and refugees in particular.”
Gosh, we were so close to peace in our time . . . and now this !?
You see how cynical the entire “peace process” has become, just one Palestinian excuse after another — if not settlements, this UNRWA flap and if not UNRWA, then something else. Of course having an inflated 5 million “refugees” (created because those generations removed from the events of 1946-49 are classified as “refugees” by the infamous UNRWA) doesn’t help get to peace; It obviously makes it more difficult because Israel is not about to let 5 million Palestinians swamp the Jewish state. As the Jerusalem Post reports:
One GOP Senate aide said that puncturing the “UNRWA myth” of millions of refugees — as opposed to a much smaller number that were personally displaced between 1946 and 1948 — would help resolve what has been a major stumbling block in previous rounds of negotiations.
“In the end you will find a very manageable problem with practical solutions,” he said. “This is a dramatic stop in what has been maybe the thorniest and most difficult challenge to Middle East peace.”
This latest outburst from the PA confirms what we have known to be the case for decades: The goal for the PA is to keep the “right of return” pristine beyond reasonable definition or compromise for as long as possible. And this is precisely why a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is impossible: The goal of two states living side by side means Israel remains a Jewish state, and those survivors of 1946-49 and their progeny settle in the West Bank or Gaza or one of the almost two dozen Arab states.
What is interesting is how aligned are the Obama administration's positions and that of the PA. The PA wanted a settlement freeze; President Obama forced one on Israel. The PA wants to go back to the 1949 lines (incorrectly referred to as the “1967 borders”); that becomes U.S. policy. Now the PA is frantic to preserve the inflated head count for refugees; the State Department takes the PA’s side. You see, the State Department says, “Final-status issues can and must only be resolved by the Israelis and Palestinians in direct negotiations.” If only the striped-pants crowd felt the same about final borders.
Critics of the Obama administration sometimes say the president operates with a false moral equivalence. If only. Now “equivalence” would be a vast improvement for Israel.