May 21, 2019
- Diplomatically, economically, militarily, Israel has never been stronger than it is today. By contrast, neither Hamas nor the Palestinian Authority can find a viable policy either to defeat the Israelis or to make peace with them.
- One result – as I saw on a recent visit – is that Palestinians, especially young people, are increasingly giving up on having a state of their own. Yet in meetings with senior Palestinian Authority officials and political observers, it was clear that this is more a cry of despair than a serious political program. The Palestinians are no more able to impose a one-state solution on the Israelis than they are able to colonize the moon.
- A well-connected Palestinian I spoke to in Ramallah explained that the one-state option is popular among younger Palestinians in part because they think the Israeli state is better-governed than the West Bank under the PA – with better administration, less corruption and more responsiveness to public opinion. They would like some of that good governance for themselves.
- If true, this is a sign that at least some Palestinians are beginning to think in more realistic terms. If the Palestinians were ready to promote reconciliation and close economic links with the Jewish state, there is no limit to the prosperity that the Palestinians could achieve. There are also concessions to Palestinian aspirations that no Israeli leader will make under threat, but that many would accept in conditions of true peace.
- Palestinians today need a Konrad Adenauer: a leader who can accept military defeat and painful territorial losses while building a prosperous future through reconciliation with the victors. A new generation, instead of following its elders down the rabbit hole of eternally futile resistance, could instead work toward competent governance, and ultimately reconciliation and renewal.
- Like the Arab states threatened by Iran, some Palestinians may be slowly beginning to realize that everything that makes Israel a formidable foe can also make it a valuable friend.
The writer is Professor of Foreign Affairs and the Humanities at Bard College.
(Click on the article’s title to see the whole article…Ed.)