It's not just Hamas that needs to be pushed toward peace

Friday, July 2, 2010

The June 25 news story "Israel's Peres urges U.S., other powers to press Hamas for peace" should have noted that it is not just Hamas that needs to be pushed to renounce violence and press for peace. While the rival Palestinian Authority is often referred to as "moderate," there is little evidence that it is genuinely interested in peace. The Palestinian Authority rejected Israel's peace proposals during the talks at Camp David in 2000 and in Taba, Egypt, in 2001. And since 2000, the Palestinian Authority's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade terrorist wing has been responsible for more than one-third of the more than 100 deadly Palestinian suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians.

Moreover, in 2008, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israel's supposed partner in peace, rejected yet another Israeli proposal for a Palestinian state with a capital in Jerusalem. Jackson Diehl reported details of the Israeli proposal in his May 29, 2009, column, "Abbas's Waiting Game," and observed that "Olmert's peace offer was more generous to the Palestinians than either that of [George W.] Bush or Bill Clinton; it's almost impossible to imagine Obama, or any Israeli government, going further. Abbas turned it down."

And today, it is Mr. Abbas who stands in the way of resuming direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Mr. Abbas has also mocked the Holocaust as "the Zionist fantasy, the fantastic lie that six million Jews were killed" -- hardly the words of a serious peacemaker.

It is time the United States and the international community pushed the Palestinian Authority to make peace with Israel.

Stephen A. Silver, San Francisco

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