As Secretary of State John Kerry continues to press Israel to make additional concessions for the sake of peace, a senior Palestinian official has reiterated what clear-eyed observers have known for years: that the Palestinian Authority has no intention of living side-by-side with Israel. Rather, Palestinian leaders hope to use a state on the 1967 borders as a stepping stone towards Israel’s ultimate destruction–the so-called “strategy of stages.”
In an interview recently unearthed by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the official, Abbas Saki, told a Syrian television station: “Even the most extreme among us, Hamas, or the fighting forces, want a state within the ’67 borders. Afterward, we [will] have something to say, because the inspiring idea cannot be achieved all at once. [Rather] in stages.” Saki is thought to be close to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, according to PMW.
The “strategy of stages” is not new. It was the way in which the late Palestinian leader (and terrorist) Yasser Arafat justified the Oslo peace accords of 1993. It had also been the core policy of Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization since 1974, when repeated wars by Israel’s Arab neighbors convinced Palestinian leaders that the Jewish state could not be destroyed easily by external invasion, and would best be eliminated over time.
Palestinian leaders have continued to incite hatred against Israel, with its ultimate destruction in mind. Last Friday, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat–who made false claims of a “massacre” in Jenin in 2002–endorsed the false conspiracy theory that Israel killed Arafat in 2004. The State Department has tried to downplay that and other statements, lest they disrupt the Obama administration’s push for peace at any price.
This post has been updated to reflect the fact that the interview occurred in late 2013, not 2011.