And the next Palestinian President is . . .

What others are saying

From the publisher of jewishinfoNews. The following article was originally published by Gatestone Institute and republished with permission by jewishinfoNews.

Does It Really Matter Who the Next Palestinian President Is?

Khaled Abu Toameh 1by Khaled Abu Toameh

• It is hard to understand why some Westerners believe that Abbas’s departure could boost the prospects of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. To many Palestinians, it is clear that the PLO or Fatah official who replaces Abbas will not be able to make any concessions to Israel. Any Palestinian leader who dares to make the slightest concession to Israel will be denounced as a traitor and will be lucky if he stays in power or stays alive.

• The West needs to understand that no Palestinian leader is authorized to make concessions to Israel for the sake of peace. Neither the PLO nor the Fatah leaderships would ever approve of such concessions. And, of course, Hamas also will never accept any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, except one that leads to the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic empire in the region.

• Saeb Erekat has been negotiating with Israel for the past two decades and his position has never changed. Like Arafat and Abbas, he too will never sign a peace agreement with Israel that does not include 100% of the territories captured by Israel in 1967. Erekat is not authorized to make any concessions on Jerusalem or the “right of return” for Palestinians to their former homes inside Israel.

• Abbas’s successor will undoubtedly declare that he intends to follow in the footsteps of Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas may go, but his legacy, like that of Arafat, will not.

The recent talk about Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’s intention to quit political life has left many wondering whether his departure would bring about real changes for the Palestinians and the “peace process” with Israel.

During the past few weeks, the 80-year-old Abbas has been telling his aides and friends that he is tired and wants to spend more time with his family.

It is not clear at this stage whether Abbas is serious about his intention to step down. His critics argue that he is just bluffing, while some of his Fatah and PLO colleagues maintain that this time his threat to resign is real.

The real question, however, is not whether Abbas is serious or not about retiring. Rather, it is what impact, if at all, his departure from the scene would have on Palestinians and future relations with Israel.

Several senior PLO and Fatah officials already see themselves as potential successors to Abbas. As the chances of holding presidential elections are zero to none (mainly due to the ongoing dispute between the PA and Hamas), the PLO and Fatah will elect the new president.

This means that the next Palestinian Authority president will be a senior PLO or Fatah official. Recently, the names of several potential candidates have been floated. They include Saeb Erekat, the veteran Palestinian chief negotiator who was recently elected as PLO Secretary-General — a move that has boosted his chances of succeeding Abbas.

But neither Erekat nor any other PLO or Fatah officials would be able to bring about real changes in the post-Abbas era — certainly not in the “peace process” with Israel.

When Yasser Arafat died in 2004, there was hope that whoever succeeded him would adopt a new policy – one that would lead to a final peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israel.

However, it was obvious from day one that Mahmoud Abbas would not be different from his predecessor. In fact, Abbas has, during the past decade, repeatedly vowed to walk in Arafat’s footsteps. Abbas has since kept his promise by rejecting a number of Israeli offers, simply because they do not comply with 100% of his demands. To this day, Abbas continues to insist that Israel withdraw from all the land it captured in 1967, including east Jerusalem.

Yasser Arafat (L) and Mahmoud Abbas, pictured in a Fatah propaganda poster. The Arabic text reads “Bearer of the trust” on top, and on the bottom: “I call on you to hold onto national unity. It is more precious than all of us.”

Abbas is not the only one who is demanding from Israel 100% of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. This has been — and continues to be — the official policy of the PLO and Fatah.

That is why it is hard to understand why some Westerners believe that Abbas’s departure could boost the prospects of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. To many Palestinians, it is perfectly clear that the PLO or Fatah official who replaces Abbas will not be able to make any concessions to Israel. Any Palestinian leader who dares to make the slightest concession to Israel will be denounced as a traitor and will be lucky if he or she stays in power or stays alive.

What the West needs to understand is that no Palestinian leader is authorized to make concessions to Israel for the sake of peace. Neither the PLO nor the Fatah leaderships would ever approve of such concessions. And then, of course, there is Hamas, which also will never accept any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The only peace agreement that Hamas will ever accept is one that leads to the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic empire in the region.

Erekat has been negotiating with Israel for the past two decades and his position has never changed. Like Arafat and Abbas, he too will never sign a peace agreement with Israel that does not include 100% of the land captured by Israel in 1967. And, like Arafat and Abbas, Erekat is not authorized to make any concessions on Jerusalem or the “right of return” for Palestinians to their former homes inside Israel.

Abbas’s successor will head the same Palestinian Authority, the same PLO and the same Fatah. These three institutions have a fixed and consistent policy that envisages the creation of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital on one hundred percent of the 1967 territories. They also share the same policy regarding the issue of Palestinian refugees, namely that they should be allowed to return to their former homes inside Israel.

Under a new leader, the PA, the PLO and Fatah will continue to stick to their current policies. None of them is going to change even one position because of the identity of the leader. Those who think that a change is possible under a new leader are living in an illusion. Israel and the international community will continue to face the same demands the Palestinians have been making for the past two decades.

Palestinians should also not expect any changes on their internal front. It would take a miracle for Abbas’s successor to end the sharp dispute between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which has been in control of the Gaza Strip since the summer of 2007. The gap between the two sides remains as wide as ever, and the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip is likely to continue for many more years.

In his inauguration speech, Abbas’s successor will undoubtedly declare that he or she intends to follow in the footsteps of Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. This means that the current stalemate in the peace process will continue. It also means that Palestinians will have to live with the reality that they already have two separate governments – a PLO-led entity in the West Bank and a Hamas-controlled mini-state in the Gaza Strip.

Those who talk about reviving the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” need to take these facts into consideration. Otherwise, they will continue to delude themselves and others into thinking that the post-Abbas era would bring about real changes in the region. Arafat is gone, but his spirit lives on over the region. Abbas may go, but his legacy, like that of Arafat, will not.

Abu Toameh writes for The Jerusalem Post and for the New York-based Gatestone Institute, where he is a senior distinguished fellow. He is a producer and consultant for NBC News since 1989. His articles have also appeared in numerous newspapers around the world.

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

Thank God there’s an Israel!

بفضل الله، هناك إسرائيل

ہم اسرائیل کے پاس خدا کا شکر ہے

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It’s our 10th birthday! A no mean feat for an Internet news site that has consistently kept to its original mission statement.

by Alan Simons
by Alan Simons

Two years ago Tarek Fatah, the Canadian secular, progressive and liberal activist said: “Any nation, any society, any country that is created on the basis of a hatred towards the others, will soon run out of people that it can hate or groups it can decimate and it will devour itself.”

Yesterday evening in Toronto there was not a ripple of hate or intolerance. I had the good fortune of participating in Ve’ahavta’s 16th Annual Community Passover Seder. The event, under Jewish and Aboriginal leadership, was in effect one of the most important social justice events held in Canada for sometime. In excess of 295 people attended the evening which brought together adults and children of all religions without community or family, to share equally in a Seder with Jews of numerous denominations.

“Tonight we concentrate on those who are without community or family, and we ask ourselves, how we can play a role in changing such hardship using our own resources.”  – Avrum Rosensweig

As Avrum Rosensweig, President and CEO of Ve’ahavta succinctly put it: “Our unique and interactive Seder allows people of all faiths to come together in order to recall this historic biblical event which teaches us about bravery, faith, and ultimate freedom. We take this opportunity in the Jewish calendar to unite as a community and to band together to remind ourselves that the comparable atrocities of today are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated by any of us!”

Ve'ahavta's 16th Annual Community Passover Seder. Toronto April 2015. -photo (c) jewishinfoNews

Ve’ahavta’s 16th Annual Community Passover Seder. Toronto April 2015. -photo (c) jewishinfoNews

Ve’ahavta describes itself as a “Jewish charitable social service organization dedicated to promoting positive change in the lives of people of all faiths who are marginalized by poverty. Ve’ahavta (Hebrew for ‘and you shall love’) is committed to engaging community members in a meaningful and hands-on way to support our collective mission of tikun olam (repairing the world). Ve’ahavta delivers poverty alleviation programs that break down barriers, restore human dignity, foster capacity-building, and empower marginalized individuals to break the cycle of poverty.”

My observations, listening and talking to many of the guests and eighty-ish volunteers present last evening, suggests that at least in Toronto there is a willingness from all societies to outstretch their hands and come together in dialogue, without hate and intolerance. Rosensweig’s Ve’ahavta has a formula that works well.  Let others take note of it!

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER - "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" | "The more things change, the more they stay the same"

SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

Thank God there’s an Israel!

بفضل الله، هناك إسرائيل

ہم اسرائیل کے پاس خدا کا شکر ہے

 Check out our jewishinfoNews videos

Diabolical Barbaric Butchery ! The Taliban joins Boko Haram and ISIS

“At a funeral service for the children who died at great hands of the Taliban, a newly minted banner on the mosque wall has hate all over. It reads”

“The Blood of innocent children will Allah-willing turn
India, America and Israel into dust.”

-Tarek Fatah, Canadian writer, broadcaster and a secular, progressive and liberal activist.

What Others Are Saying

From The Jakarta Post, Indonesia. Thursday, December 18 2014

“No single sane person in the world could understand or tolerate the barbaric acts of the Taliban in Pakistan who butchered at least 141 innocent people, mostly schoolchildren, on Tuesday. The group, which claims to represent true Islam, proudly took responsibility for the massacre at a military-run school in .

“Civilized residents of this planet could not just stand by or merely issue statements to condemn the attack. The Taliban have repeatedly used Islam as their pretext to become ruthless criminals and they are not alone. They insist that only their version and interpretation of Islamic teachings should be followed.

“News agencies quoted a victim as describing the gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) before they opened fire. “There are so many children beneath the benches — go and get them,” one of the Taliban ordered his men.

“Indonesia’s government joined the world in denouncing the unimaginable cruelty. However, as the world’s third-largest democracy and largest Muslim-majority nation Indonesia has an obligation far beyond issuing a public statement in convincing the globe that Islam teaches peace and tolerance. Islam is often tarnished by its own followers, many using more than an iron fist to force others, including Muslims, to strictly follow their version of Islam, or suffer the consequences with their own lives.

“We no longer take it for granted that Indonesian Muslims are as moderate and tolerant as many still perceive. There are groups of people here who will never hesitate to use violence to force others to follow them.”

* * *

SEVENTY YEARS LATER - "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" | "The more things change, the more they stay the same"

SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

 Thank God there’s an Israel!

بفضل الله، هناك إسرائيل

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