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David Bedein

David by Rhonda Spivak


[Editor’s note. Rhonda Spivak’s interview with David Makovsky is reprinted below underneath David Bedein’s response}

By David Bedein , Israel Resource News Agency

After reading "DAVID MAKOVSKY AT GA: OPTIMISTIC THAT ABBAS IS A REAL PARTNER ” in the Winnipeg Jewish Review, her are some thoughts.
David Makovsky wants to live up to his job description as the “director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s project on the Middle East peace process”, and therefore promotes the notion that a middle east peace process still exists, when he states that “he is “hopeful” that real opportunities for peace between the Palestinian Authority and Israel exist today. 

Makovsky chooses to ignore the unambiguous declaration of war on Israel to that the Fatah, which is the controlling organization in the Palestinian Authority, declared at its conference in August and at the meeting of the Fatah’s central committee Palestinian at its conference last week in Ramallah
Instead, Makovsky declares that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is not a rejectionist, in the speech that he gave at the General Assembly of Jewish Federations of North America that took place in Washington, D.C., Nov. 8-10. On what basis did Makovsky draw such a conclusion? In Makovsky’s words, because, “Abbas has faced death threats from extremists for advocating a two-state solution.” Why does Makovsky not relate to the widespread corruption that continues to plague the Palestinian Authority and the widely publicized graft that Abbas’s own sons have benefited from in that context? Why does Makovsky not mention a word about the whereabouts of the billions of dollars from his mentor’s Arafat’s slush accounts that continue to help Abbas’s colleagues live high on the hog? Why does Makovsky not make any mention of the e thousands of Palestinians whom the PA continues to confine to UNRWA camps, under the specious premise and promise of the right of return to homes and villages that no longer exist from 1948? 

Makovsky’s standing as a serious academic comes into question when he declares that he relies on the polling data of Khalil Shikaki of the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, who declares that “49 percent of Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state”. 

In a totalitarian system, what is more important - what a state-run pollster concludes or the statements of all Palestinian Authority spokespeople who categorically declare that they will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state, beginning with Abbas’s countless statements in this regard.

A most unprofessional statement from Makovsky at the GA was when he praised the removal of checkpoints and barricades, saying that this would solve the problem that “people can’t get from Ramallah to Nablus”, in Makovsky’s words.

Makovsky’s praise of the “security co-operation between Israel and the PA” is devoid of any warning that this may have disastrous consequences, since the Fatah-dominated PA repeats, time and again, that it is not abandoning the military option against Israel.
Yet the unkindest cut of all in Makovsky’s myopic promotion of the Fatah as a peace partner occurred in October 2003, when he hosted four leaders of the Fatah Tanzim to Washington, D.C., to advance their cause with the U.S. Congress and with various Jewish organizations. 

Yet Makovsky hosted the Tanzim at a time when the Tanzim were helping to orchestrate a murder campaign that claimed the lives of hundreds of people in Israel at the time. 

It would be instructive to know if Makovsky, in his frequent visits to Israel, has taken the time to visit the victims of those whom he promotes as a peace partner.
Makovsky lived in Israel for many years 

However, Makosvky chose to leave Israel and to raise his children in the comfortable suburb of Solver Spring, Md. 

Distance makes the heart grow less sensitive to those who suffer at the hands of a terrorist organization. Anyway, that would not fit the script that Makovsky so optimistically lays out, which is that Israel has a peace partner


By Rhonda Spivak, Special Report from Washington, November 11, 2009

David Makovsky, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s project on the Middle East peace process, is “hopeful” that real opportunities for peace between the Palestinian Authority and Israel exist today.

“Is [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas a rejectionist in a suit? No I don’t think so,” Makovsky told a gathering of delegates at the General Assembly of Jewish Federations of North America that took place in Washington, D.C., Nov. 8-10.

Makovsky, who co-authored Myths, Illusions and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East with Dennis Ross, added, “Abbas has faced death threats from [Palestinian] extremists for advocating a two-state solution.”

In an interview with the Winnipeg Jewish Review, Makovsky noted that he had he had seen “tons of polling data” that there is Palestinian support for two states and that according to the latest poll by Khalil Shikaki of the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, 49 percent of Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, “So I think there is hope.” 

Makovsky, who is the Zeigler Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute, said, “The more I get to know them [Palestinians], the more I see that they are not monolithic.” 

Makovsky believes that there is a “convergence of interest” between Israel and the PA. The current Israeli government has removed checkpoints and barricades throughout the West Bank and the economy is improving. “If people can’t get from Ramallah to Nablus, then they can’t believe in a two-state solution,” he observed. 

He noted that this “convergence of interests” is evident in the West Bank today, where Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has been strong on governance issues and where there he sees an increasing “culture of accountability” in the PA. 

“The security co-operation between Israel and the PA is the best it’s been in 16 years. Although we don’t talk about it, there has been increasing cooperation. They [Israel and the PA] don’t want ‘Gaza coming to a theatre near you.’ People would rather have the approach of Salam Fayyad and Abbas, rather than Hamas.... The danger of doing nothing now is great, because those who will take over are Hamas,” Makovsky warned. But, he cautioned, “When the lion lies down with the lamb, Israel must be the lion.”

Makovsky referred to the U.S. administration’s handling of the issue of an Israeli settlement freeze as “a rookie mistake.” Since Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was willing to curb settlement expansion (but not impose freeze natural growth), that ought to have been sufficient. “You don’t need an axe when you could have used a scalpel,” he said in reference to the Obama administration’s approach.

In answer to a question from a delegate about why Saudi Arabia has not shown any interest in taking any steps to normalize relations with Israel, Makovsky responded, “I don’t think that you can pin the blame on Abbas for that. He did try to persuade the Saudis, but Arab leaders [who have not been elected by their people] never want to take a risk. The last people we should count on are the Arab states.”

When asked what he thought of Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz’s recent call for Israel to negotiate with Hamas, Makovsky said he didn’t understand his reasoning. Since Israel has been trying to negotiate with the PA, turning around to deal with Hamas, “would be to cut the legs off from under the PA” and would be damaging to the peace process, he suggested.

When asked about possible American support for Fayyad’s plan to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state within the next two years if an agreement is not reached, Makovsky noted, “I don’t think people are into any unilateral steps anymore, not after the unilateral evacuation of Gaza.”


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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