For the first time in many years, in scenes reminiscent of the good old days before the peace process when Palestinians were able to enter Israel freely, the beaches of Tel Aviv and Jaffa were full of Palestinian Muslims who also converged on shopping malls and water parks in different parts of the country. [emphasis added]
Khaled Abu Toameh
NPR reports on the record number of Palestinians once again allowed into Israel:
Back in the 1990s, when Israelis and Palestinians were holding peace negotiations, more than 100,000 Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip entered Israel every day. Most came to work, but also to shop, study, visit relatives or go to the beach.After all, as Khaled Abu Toameh reports Hamas and the Palestinian Authority feel threatened by Israel opening borders to Palestinians.
But after the Palestinian uprising began in 2000, Israel systematically cut back on the number of Palestinians who could enter Israel, and now relatively few can enter. [emphasis added]
- The Israel government has given permits to tens of thousands of Arabs from the Yehudah and Shomron (West Bank) during Eid al-Fitr
- Hundreds of thousands of Muslims from the West Bank have been entering Jerusalem for Friday prayers at the Aqsa Mosque without permits.
- If you consider the average Palestinian Arab, they are voting with their feet if they like the idea.
Hamas and the Palestinian Authority sees a threat, not an opportunity:
Some Palestinian officials in Ramallah are even talking about an Israeli "conspiracy" to undermine the Palestinian Authority. Other officials are opposed to the new Israeli policy because they believe it is aimed at promoting "normalization" with Israel -- something the Palestinian Authority leadership considers a crime.That's right: the Palestinian Authority that everyone claims are Israel's peace partners consider anything that might bring peace to be a crime. These are the fine people who hold that selling land to Jews is punishable by death and plan an apartheid Palestinian state free of Jews.
It's only natural for Hamas, the Abbas regime and their apologists to consider increased entry of Palestinian Arabs -- and the 90,000 Palestinians with Israeli work permits -- to be a threat:
- Easing restrictions on Palestinians will have a moderating effect on them
- For Hamas and their fellow terrorist groups, that could make it more difficult to attract new followers
- The Palestinian Authority can only see this as a threat that underscores their failure, incompetence and corruption
- Bottom line, with the contrast between life in Israel and the Palestinian territories so stark and so clear, Arabs may vent their anger against their leaders and not Israel.
- Supporters of boycotts to delegitimize and economically weaken Israel will end up hurting Palestinians, highlighting the fact the Arabs are just an excuse to destroy the Jewish state
As Abu Toameh notes, the threat to the Palestinian Authority is so great that the same Abbas regime that has made a show of demanding Israel lift travel restrictions on West Bank Arabs is now scrambling to condemn Israel for doing exactly that, claiming that Israel is trying to damage the Palestinian economy.
Such is the quality of leadership the Palestinian Arabs have to settle for.
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