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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Does 'implicit' have the same value as 'explicit'?

Israel and much of the civilized world have been boycotting the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority for about a year now because the P.A. has refused to comply with three very basic Quartet demands:

a) Recognition of Israel

b) Renunciation of armed violence (i.e. terrorism)

c) Acceptance of previous agreements and obligations

But now that the Mecca accords have resulted in a Palestinian unity government, the UN, EU and even the U.S. seem to be softening their stance towards reestablishing official relations, and more importantly financial aid, to the Palestinians.

For their part, the spokespeople for the P.A. unity government have wasted no time in telling anyone who will listen that they are now in full compliance with the demands of the Quartet, and therefore their government "... must be accepted and dealt with by the entire international community, if there is justice in this world"  Yet in the same breath they are quick to point out that "although there is no explicit recognition of Israel in the political program of the government, such recognition is evident in the fact that it has pledged to respect agreements reached with Israel in the past." [emphasis mine]
  [source]

But are they really in compliance with the three basic demands listed above?  Has their official position towards Israel changed?  Let's take a look at them one by one:

a) Recognition of Israel - This hasn't happened... not by a long shot.  The P.A. is playing a game of semantics by saying that since they will 'respect' previous agreements with Israel they are implicitly recognizing it.  Yet to anyone who cares to look closely, they have deliberately avoided any language explicitly promising that they will abide by any previous agreements.  After decades of non-recognition, the Palestinians have not earned the right to claim that 'implicit recognition' has the same value as 'explicit recognition'.  Proof positive that recognition is still something being withheld for some future stage of negotiations  with Israel is the statement from the same interview; "If Israel wants recognition, it has to recognize the Palestinians as well."  The problem with this is that starting with Oslo and continuing to this day, Israel has signed dozens documents stating that it explicitly recognizes the official Palestinian political entity; the P.A..

b) Renunciation of armed violence (i.e. terrorism) - This hasn't happened by any stretch of the imagination.  The most blatant assurances that Israel has not seen the end of attacks is the statement by PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh calling for "pursuing "resistance" against Israel..."  and that "...his government would support "all forms of resistance." [source]  These aren't statements by some splinter group over which the P.A. leadership exerts no control.  This is the leader of the new unity government!  There is no way that his statements could possibly be taken out of context since they were part of his speech immediately following the cabinet vote approving his Unity Government.

c) Acceptance of previous agreements and obligations - Lots of double talk and semantics games going on there, but no substantive change in previous P.A. policy.  If they really meant to say that they would live up to all existing treaties and agreements signed by Arafat and Abbas they would have said so.  Using deliberately ambiguous terminology will likely get the international gravy train back on track (which was certainly their only goal), but it won't get Israel a millimeter closer to having a peace partner.  The Palestinians haven't lived up to one explicit agreement they have signed in the past... agreements that have required them to bring nothing more valuable to the negotiating table than a pen.  Why should 'implicit' commitments suddenly be of any value?

The European Union has been anxious to resume financial aid to the P.A. because they don't want to have a 'humanitarian disaster' in the Palestinian territories weighing on their collective conscience.  That such a humanitarian disaster would be entirely the fault of the prevailing kleptocracy entrenched in every Palestinian leadership is completely lost on the well-meaning bleeding hearts in Europe and the United Nations. 

It apparently makes no difference that the Palestinians have received more aid per capita than any other people in the history of the world and that this aid has never once found its way to to the people who need it most.  For some reason the act of signing that aid check is enough to assuage any guilt pangs felt around the continent.  Meanwhile, the Swiss bank accounts of the P.A. officials will once again swell with the largess.

Now it remains to be seen if our own government will be able to resist falling into yet another trap in this 'war of stages' of which these latest empty 'implicit' commitments are certainly just the latest salvo.

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Posted by David Bogner on March 18, 2007 | Permalink

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David,

the Europeans are anxious to resume and increase payments to the PA because they view them as protection money. The EU financing the Palestinians = no terror attacks in Europe.

Posted by: Ruth | Mar 18, 2007 3:42:38 PM

Ruth makes a very good point. Europe (to my recollection) has never been troubled by humanitarian disasters (especially those of its own making - the Spanish Inquisition, Ha-Shoah, ...), but it's been ever keen to pay the Barbary Pirates their tribute. (Please join me in a rousing rendition of the Marine Hymn.)

Your quotes around the words 'humanitarian disaster' tacitly acknowledge the disingenuousness of Europe. But perhaps you would do well to take your own advice and more explicitly state that Europe's calling its tribute to the PA 'humanitarian aid' is just the warm blanket it wraps around the cold fact that its real motives are Islamophobia and antisemitism.

Posted by: Bob | Mar 18, 2007 4:42:48 PM

Unfortunately we know from experience that the world doesn't like to spend any time trying to see through double talk.

It is far easier to accept simple explanations and to leave it at that.

Posted by: Jack | Mar 18, 2007 5:40:09 PM

Is there a way things could be pushed from implicit to explicit? (I shall leave out a tirade about the P.A. ... today)

Posted by: Seattle | Mar 18, 2007 9:17:32 PM

Seems hopeless...very hopeless...unfortunately.

Posted by: tnspr569 | Mar 18, 2007 10:28:12 PM

Cowardice. Common cowardice. I am not at all surprised.

Posted by: Irina | Mar 20, 2007 5:03:47 AM

“The problem with this is that starting with Oslo and continuing to this day, Israel has signed dozens documents stating that it explicitly recognizes the official Palestinian political entity; the P.A.”

A look at history during the time which the Oslo Agreement was reached is a lucid indicator of flawed attempts to reach any diplomatic truce. Usually there is no explicit cause of action to deal with any ‘rogue’ actions arising from either side. Another Israeli right-wing terrorist gunning down Palestinians is good enough reason to set the ball rolling for the Unity government to stay silent and participate as dozens of suicide bombers are sent into Israel. Again, look at the role of Islamic militancy in the Horn of Africa and see how difficult it is for independent Islamic regimes to depend on a centralized system of government even without any form of occupation and with a humanitarian disaster already in the making. For the quartet and political initiative sake, attempts should be made to try and come up with some long-term agreement with the Palestinians, but realistically instead of trying to find a peace partner, Israel should focus more on trying to avoid any form of aggression from its side while maintaining a unrelenting stance on any attempts to make the lives of Israelis unbearable.

Posted by: Rami | Mar 20, 2007 7:33:09 AM

I linked to your article from The Thinking Blogger Award - A Gift and a Curse

You have been tagged - congratulations.

Posted by: bernie | Mar 26, 2007 10:42:23 AM

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