Nov. 15, 2017
Back to Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations? – Some Basic Truths – Alan Baker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Any genuine and serious peace negotiating plan for Israel and the Palestinians should naturally be seen as a welcome alternative to the present situation of impasse in the peace process. However, the American peace plan should not be overestimated or idealized by exaggerated media hype and political manipulation.
- To succeed, there is the necessity to correct many of the existing factors that are presently feeding an atmosphere of hatred, distrust, and suspicion among the political leaderships and general publics of the two sides.
- First and foremost, the ongoing Palestinian diplomatic offensive against Israel is incompatible with any claim by the Palestinian leadership that it desires peace with Israel or that it intends to return to any negotiating mode.
- Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership repeatedly deny both the historic rights of the Jewish people as well as the very right of Israel to exist. They cannot claim that they are willing to negotiate and live in peace with Israel, while at the same time openly denying the very right of Israel, the other party to any bona fide negotiation, to exist.
- They cannot pretend to be open to reestablishing a neighborly relationship with Israel while, at the same time, deliberately discouraging any existing efforts at normalization of relations with Israelis. Their “denormalization” policy is anathema to any idea of developing good neighborliness between the two peoples for their mutual benefit.
- The Palestinian-generated international BDS campaign aimed at harming and undermining Israel economically and culturally through boycotts and social propaganda is a further example of the very antithesis of any genuine intention to seek a peaceful mode of co-existence.
- If Abbas and the Palestinian leadership genuinely intend to return to a negotiating mode with Israel, they cannot continuously and systematically alienate the Israeli public through incitement to terror and violence, false accusations, and hostile propaganda in violation of their Oslo Accord commitments.
The writer, a former legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians.