In her statement announcing the resumption of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians this week, State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Sunday said that the Palestinians will be represented by Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Shtayyeh.
Middle East analyst Oren Kessler noticed something interesting about Shtayyeh’s Facebook page; that is, that the Palestinian negotiator displays a map of the entire State of Israel - including its internationally recognized borders, plus Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) plus Gaza - emblazoned with the Arabic letters for “Palestine.”
Whether by intention or not, the map is also shaded in green, a color traditionally associated with Islam.
Also on his Facebook profile, Shtayyeh displays a photograph of Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock which sits above the Temple Mount – the holiest site in Judaism.
The Palestinian Authority – which Shtayyeh is representing in the talks Kerry is hosting this week -- and the majority Fatah ruling party are considered by the U.S. and European community to constitute the more moderate leadership as compared with Hamas which states flat out that its goal is to destroy the Jewish state.
Writer Aussie Dave from the pro-Israel blog Israelly Cool captures how the map is being perceived among many Israelis:
Yeah, that’s the entire map of Israel covered in the Arabic for “Palestine” (Filastin). In other words [...] “We will pretend to negotiate for peace, but only as a means to an end. The end being the destruction of Israel and, in its place, a palestinian state in the entire land.”
So the situation is even worse than we thought. Not only have we agreed to kick-start peace negotiations by releasing over 100 murderous, unrepentant terrorists, but we will be negotiating with someone who is not even hiding his true aim: Israel’s destruction.
And the world won’t even blink.
Raheem Kassam on Trending Central writes: “Such backhanded tactics are well known within Palestinian circles, and the recognition of the State of Israel is a rarity in the region.”
Kerry in his invitation to the peace talks noted the “the courage shown by Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas” in agreeing to restart talks. “Both leaders have demonstrated a willingness to make difficult decisions that have been instrumental in getting to this point. We are grateful for their leadership,” Kerry said.
“It seems for one of Abbas’s negotiators however, the recognition of the State of Israel is one step too far, and reveals how these peace talks are more than likely to be completely in vain,” Kassam adds.
As TheBlaze reported last week, Palestinian Authority Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash was caught on tape earlier this month hinting that any future peace deal with Israel would secretly be only a short-term arrangement, comparing it to a truce the Muslim prophet Mohammed negotiated only to break two years later.
That statement is but the latest example of Palestinian Authority officials hinting they might not be bound by the terms of any agreement requiring them to give up the hopes of one day securing more territory from Israel.
TheBlaze's coverage of the Israeli government's controversial decision to release 104 Palestinian prisoners from jail, many convicted murderers, can be seen here.