Feb. 15, 2019
- The Key to Middle East Peace Is Getting Palestinians to Say “Yes” – Ahron Shapiro
The necessity for the Palestinians to make peace with Israel as a prerequisite for the establishment of a Palestinian state isn’t arbitrary or the result of inherently “unfair” imbalances of power. It is a reflection of the reality that the Palestinians rejected the UN partition plan of November 29, 1947, establishing two states, in favor of open-ended war. This rejectionism continues to this day.
The Palestinians have been given multiple opportunities to reverse their historic own-goal and accept statehood many times since then but have always broken off talks at the moment of truth, refusing the very independence they claim to pine for if the price is to end their conflict with Israel. Martin Indyk, President Obama’s special envoy on the Middle East, told Al Jazeera in 2016: “We have [Israeli Prime Ministers] Barak and Olmert offering the Palestinians 95-97% of the West Bank and all of Gaza, and they didn’t take it.” Since 2014 the Palestinian leadership has refused to negotiate at all.
Israel cannot make peace on its own, nor can it be expected to accept the creation of a hostile, armed state on the doorstep of its major cities without a viable peace agreement. Unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood would be rewarding the Palestinians for continuing to say “no.” The writer is a senior policy analyst at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council. (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)