Stop Giving Palestinians a Pass – Dennis Ross (New York Times)
(dailyalert.org, Jan. 5, 2015)
The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, insists on using international institutions to pressure Israel, and has announced he will turn to the International Criminal Court – a move that will produce Palestinian charges and Israeli countercharges but not alter the reality on the ground.
It’s time to stop giving the Palestinians a pass. It is time to make it costly for them to focus on symbols rather than substance.
Since 2000, there have been three serious negotiations that culminated in offers to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Bill Clinton’s parameters in 2000, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s offer in 2008, and Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts last year. In each case, the answer by Palestinian leaders was either “no” or no response.
Palestinian political culture is rooted in a narrative of injustice; its anticolonialist bent and its deep sense of grievance treats concessions to Israel as illegitimate.
Going to the United Nations puts pressure on Israel and requires nothing of the Palestinians. Resolutions are typically about what Israel must do and what Palestinians should get.
European leaders who fervently support Palestinian statehood must focus on how to raise the cost of saying no or not acting at all when there is an offer on the table. If the Palestinians’ approach is neither about two states nor peace, there ought to be a price for that.
The writer, a counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, was the U.S. chief negotiator for Arab-Israeli issues from 1993 to 2001.