Janine Zacharia, the Washington Post's Jerusalem correspondent, spins a fanciful, sky-is-falling doomsday scenario for Israel: if you don't hurry up and bend over backwards to get a peace deal with Mahmoud Abbas on almost any terms, then get ready for a Hamas takeover of the West Bank and a third intifada that will rock the Jewish state to its foundations. ("Warnings in Israel of need for peace deal -- West Bank Crisis Feared -- Some in military foresee Hamas rise to power" Nov. 17, page A8).
Zacharia attributes her dire warning to a couple of unidentified senior Israeli military and intelligence officials:
"If a peace deal isn't achieved soon, the moderate Palestinian leadership in the West Bank could collapse and give way to radical Hamas militants, backed by Iran and Iraq, who already rule the Gaza Strip."
This is, of course, an old refrain from leftist, peace-at-any-price mavens, who will say anything and do anything to appease Abbas, lest this so-called "moderate" gets toppled from his Palestinian leadership perch in Ramallah. Except Zacharia peddles this notion under the guise of a news article, ignoring the radical side of Abbas, who keeps glorifying terrorists and calling for Israel's total disappearance, while refusing to enter serious, direct talks with Israel under U.S. auspices.
Zacharia also overlooks continued low-level terrorist attacks on Israelis, originating in the West Bank, under the supposed peaceful Palestinian Authority rule of Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad. And her Hamas-takeover scenario fails to take into account Palestinian polls showing a steady decline in Hamas's popularity.
In her roseate view of the Abbas-ruled PA, "negotiators have only a short window before the recent quiet there is broken." Thus, Israeli military and intelligence officials are "warning Israel's political leadership of possible outcomes of failed negotiations"
And what are those outcomes? In gloom-and-doom tones, Zacharia predicts "many potential consequences for Israel's long-term security, internal character and standing in the world should negotiations fail." In other words, the entire burden for a peace deal rests with Israel -- or else watch out. The Palestinians just have to sit back, demand more and more Israeli concessions, and not lift a finger to come up with any compromises of their own.
Because otherwise, according to Zacharia,, "the prospect of a broader Middle East peace with countries such as Syria and Lebanon, would dissipate." As if there has been any such serious prospect in recent times, except in Zacharia's feverish imagination.
And, naturally, she adds,
"Israel could grow more isolated internationally. A delegitmization campign against Israel by left-wing activists, academics and artists abroad has intensified, with calls for boycotts of Israel because of its ongoing rule in the West Bank."
Never mind that virtually all such boycott drives have been complete flops and Israel, far from being isolated, recently was elected to membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- a Paris-based group of the world's most advanced democratic economies.
In short, Zacharia's piece is right out of a Palestinian propaganda playbook that seeks to parlay Abbas's unreliably weak and untrustworthy leadership into Israel's last best hope.