By HANA LEVI JULIAN
In a burst of apparent frustration, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lashed out last week, ordering Israel – and one hopes, the Palestinian Authority as well – to “get back to the damn peace table.”
He also insisted that Israel take steps to reverse its growing isolation with more “gestures” (read: security concessions to the PA that will certainly endanger Israeli lives) designed to woo PLO/PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas back to the talks.
But Abbas has no interest in negotiations, nor has Hamas. Both have made it abundantly clear, repeatedly, that their real goal is to “recover all of Palestine” — and the PA map used by both reflects that neither recognizes the existence of the State of Israel anywhere.
A 10-month freeze on all Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria to comply with conditions set by Abbas for talks two years ago, and demanded by Obama despite its impact on families living in 30-year-old communities there, was ineffective and gained Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu nothing but rage by those who were forced to live in mammoth discomfort for nearly a year — to no purpose.
The dismantling of hundreds of checkpoints and roadblocks installed to protect Jewish lives – “good will gestures to ease the lives of PA Arabs” – certainly eased the lives of the terrorists whose murderous rage they were meant to stymie, and facilitated their deadly dedication to the annihilation of their Jewish neighbors.
Dozens of terrorist attacks, more murders and and orphaned Jewish children — for what?
We have seen no peace from these “gestures.” If anything, we have seen far more belligerence, far less flexibility and sadly, more Arab-to-Arab cruelty in the PA than ever was seen in the days of the late former Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
We don’t need more helpful advice from a naive, isolationist American Defense Secretary who is trying to get his boss re-elected by throwing seven million Israeli citizens under the bus.
So get the hell out of the Middle East and get the hell back to reality, Leon Panetta. It’s on YOUR boss’s watch that the Arab Spring was ignited, and may have destroyed the economy of half the world in the process.
For what, exactly?