By Larry Gordon

The contrasts between the inside Israel and how it is perceived from the outside never ceases to amaze. Traveling extensively on Sunday beyond the so-called green line, I was struck by the ample space that exists out here for everyone to live peacefully, side by side. Life goes on here at a steady pace. The tragic incidents that occurred here over the last few weeks and months were just that–sad and tragic. But life goes on here unperturbed.

The leadership on the Palestinian side–Fatah, Hamas, and the other factions–have become exceedingly wealthy while in the business of agitating and opposing peace. Not only have Mohammad Abbas and Khalid Meshaal assembled billions of dollars in personal fortunes, but their children and extended families control fledgling businesses like cell phone towers, phone companies, and the importing of vital foodstuff that are staples in their societies.

Peace might be in the best interest of the people, but on the Arab side of the equation it is business before peace. So for the time being and for the last few decades, the impression has been created that all the talk about capturing Jerusalem and steamrolling over the state of Israel is largely a rhetorical manipulation aimed at maneuvering countries around the world to commit billions of dollars in the hope of dissuading the mad men in power from destabilizing the region.

Former U.S. envoy to the Middle East, Dennis Ross, said as much in a New York Times essay last Sunday. Basically, Ross said that there is too much that Palestinian leadership gains by refusing to enter into an agreement with Israel. He wrote that if the state of Palestine was actually created through an agreement with Israel, its aftermath would be a huge, uninteresting yawn. It is the struggle for the creation of Palestine that is so exciting and the moneymaker for Arab leaders. It’s this artificial struggle that they refuse to let go of. Unfortunately, their agenda for this ongoing empty struggle includes a craven desire for violence.

Brett Stephens struck a similar theme in Tuesday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal. The world seems to be all too willing to reward the Palestinians for their intransigence and avoidance of any conclusive peace deals with Israel. Abbas has either said no or just walked away from peace deals in 2000, 2008, and 2014. But now, with the Palestinian diplomatic aggressiveness, it seems that, as once articulated by the late Israel UN Ambassador Abba Eban, they are demonstrating their ability to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory and never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

All these matters notwithstanding, Israel is strong and increasing that strength as time goes by. Elections loom on the nearby horizon with the various polls and surveys showing something different almost every day. The conventional wisdom is that Bibi Netanyahu will be able to form or reform the next government with prominent representation from the religious parties–that is, Habayit HaYehudi, Shas, Ha’am Itanu, and perhaps Kulanu, which is “Likud light,” though not religious per se.

With Moshe Feiglin out of Likud and looking to create yet another new party or to latch onto one of the new ones that have been formed, that just means that there are more things up in the air here politically than perhaps ever before. Let’s watch the changes together.v

Terror Hits Paris

What a shocking and devastating tragedy–twelve people murdered while at work in a quiet Paris suburb. And this less than a week after France voted at the UN Security Council in favor of the creation of Palestine. The fact is that even though the UN resolution was defeated, the Palestinians got this far in the first place only because of their unrelenting dedication to violence and terror.

Was President Hollande thinking that the terror merchants of Europe would look with favor at the French position that Israel’s territory be reduced, with hostile neighbors on its borders, to satisfy these dangerous, Islamic wild men?

Clearly, if that was the French calculation, it was a terrible mistake, just as President Obama’s idea to contain ISIS rather than commit to its destruction was also a terrible and costly error.

These diplomatic moves send destructive signals to Muslim extremists. By accommodating Islamic radicals in France, the government is communicating to them that there is a legitimate position for them in the diplomatic arena. There clearly is not, and they must be destroyed without compromise or excuses.

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