Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Palestinian Authority Markets Arab Initiative Directly To Israelis

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the Palestinian Authority has put up Hebrew billboards with a message to Israelis:
There's a viable peace initiative on offer from Arab states. Reach a land-for-peace deal with Palestinians, and we will recognize you.
According to the CSM article, turnabout is fair play: 
The campaign represents an interesting role reversal. A decade ago, it was the Israeli government that was trying to sell its own skeptical electorate on peace, while the late Yasser Arafat had trouble getting Hamas and other rejectionist groups to sign on to the Oslo deal that he had reached with Israel five years earlier.
Israel Today, an evangelical site, notes another motivation in placing the ads:
In addition to its stated purpose, the campaign also appears to be directed at convincing Israelis and the world that the sole obstacle to peace is Israel's unwillingness to part with Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights and the eastern half of Jerusalem.
Still, maybe the PA should be concentrating on putting up some signs in its own backyard:
The ad campaign, in the eyes of the Palestinian movers and shakers behind it, is the PA's way of speaking directly to the Israeli public about peace. But Palestinian critics think this is an embarrassing exercise whose ultimate goal is to defeat right-wing politicians in Israel's upcoming elections – a gambit that might ultimately backfire.

But is the gamble merely that ads like this might strengthen Netanyahu's chances in February?Siham Barghouthi, the deputy chairman of FIDA, (the Palestinian Democratic Union), a PLO faction comprised primarily of intellectuals, is described as deciding to "go out on a limb to appeal to Israelis through their own media". 

Go out on a limb? Is the risk from Netanyahu or Barghouthi's fellow Palestinian Arabs?

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