In an unusual gesture Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Tuesday sent separate condolence letters to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who is sitting in mourning for his father in Jerusalem.This is a very nice gesture, and I am sure that both Bibi Netanyahu and the people of Israel appreciate it.
Direct communication between Palestinian and Israeli leaders has been scant since Netanyahu took office in March 2009.
The PA's official WAFA news agency notes every single diplomatic move that Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad. do - every meeting, every letter, every phone call, especially with politicians from other countries.
But it didn't mention a word about these condolence letters.
Are they afraid that their people would riot if they publicize a simple act of humanity towards an Israeli leader? Are they concerned that it would make them look weak? Do they think they would be accused of being "Zionist"? Are they trying to make sure that Hamas doesn't use this as a weapon against them?
Again, it is commendable that they took the time to do the right thing. But the fact that there was clearly a decision made not to publicize these letters in Arabic says a lot about how the Palestinian Arab leaders think about their own people.
There are only two alternatives: either they know that releasing such information would create a backlash, or they mistakenly think that.
Either way, if the leaders of a wannabe nation think so little of their own people that they cannot defend a simple condolence gesture, how can anyone expect that there would ever be real peace? If they feel that their positions are so tenuous that publicizing a tiny gesture of humanity is considered dangerous to themselves, how can anyone expect them to make the truly difficult decisions necessary for peace?
(h/t @BibiReport and @ChallahHuAkbar)