Dec. 27, 2016
- Do the Palestinians Really Want a State? – David Harris
While Israeli settlement-building is unquestionably a highly contentious matter, the core issue in the conflict has always been the refusal by the Palestinians and their supporters to recognize Israel’s legitimacy and negotiate in good faith a lasting peace deal. That was true in 1947-8, when a two-state solution was proposed by the UN; in 1967; in 2000-1; in 2008; during the ten-month (2009-10) settlement freeze that Israel adopted under Prime Minister Netanyahu in response to an American request; and in 2013-14, the most recent attempt at direct, bilateral talks facilitated by the U.S. Why aren’t UN Security Council members asking the Palestinians to explain seven decades of avoiding a settlement of the conflict?
The Palestinians’ seeking to internationalize the conflict has only convinced many Israelis that the Palestinian leadership has no real interest in finding a solution, only in waging a struggle. By now, it should be abundantly clear, though, that Israel is strong, and getting stronger, and that any notion Israel will fall to its knees and succumb to the pressure is just a fanciful illusion.
Israel has enduring treaties with Egypt and Jordan. In both cases, they were reached not through the UN, but rather via face-to-face talks. Israel made unprecedented territorial concessions, but did so confident that Egyptian President Sadat and Jordanian King Hussein had made sincere decisions to abandon war with the Jewish state.
Instead of infantilizing and coddling the Palestinians, succumbing to their every misguided whim, and endorsing their counter-productive behavior, isn’t it high time to see the situation as it is for both parties (and not only for the Palestinians), learn from the past, and help create conditions for tangible progress? The writer is the executive director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). (Huffington Post)