Israelis don't believe Palestinian leader Abbas

Sunday, November 11, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

Last month Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas appeared on Israeli television and seemingly accepted many Israeli positions regarding the peace process. Israeli President Shimon Peres hailed the gesture as evidence that Abbas is a true peace partner, but polls show most Israelis don't trust the Palestinian leader, and with good reason.

In the interview with Israel's Channel 2 News, Abbas stated that "Palestine now for me is the '67 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. I believe that (the) West Bank and Gaza is Palestine and the other parts (are) Israel."

It was a seemingly major departure from the Palestinian Authority's traditional reluctance to accept Israel's existence, and suggested that Abbas was abandoning the demand that Israel open its borders to millions of so-called "Palestinian refugees," thus demographically destroying the Jewish state.

But over 60 percent of Israeli respondents to a poll conducted by New Wave on behalf of the Hebrew daily newspaper Israel Hayom said it was more important to listen to what Abbas was saying in Arabic.

Indeed, the very day after his Israel television interview, Abbas told an Arab news station that he had not abandoned what he calls the "Palestinian right of return," indicating that his end goal remains the destruction of Israel as the Jewish state.

Also since his Channel 2 appearance, Abbas' state-run Palestinian television has continued to refer to cities across Israel proper as stolen Palestinian lands that must be recovered.

Many Israeli officials, like Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, saw through Abbas' ruse and said he was simply trying to influence the outcome of Israel's upcoming general election.

But some Israeli leaders, like Peres, are so desperate to gain a foothold for what they think will be genuine peace, that they continue to fall for the same tricks time and again.

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