The “peace process” between Israel and the Arabs, touted as part of a “two state” plan, failed not because of disagreements over settlements and boundaries, but because of a basic false assumption: that Palestinianism could be fulfilled in a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It failed not because Israel did not give enough, but because nothing would have been enough.

Paradoxically, the more people urged Palestinian statehood as part of a two-state plan, the less relevant it became. This is because the issue was not about Palestine, but Palestinianism. This explains why all diplomatic negotiations and proposals not only did not work, but could not work.

The dispute is not over territory, but ideology – Palestinianism, the basis of their nearly hundred-year war against Zionism and the State of Israel, the national historic homeland of the Jewish People. For Arabs, Palestinians and most Muslims, that struggle is jihad against the infidel.

Since a “peace process” requires Arabs to give up their opposition to a Jewish state, it contradicts their basic principles and historic mission. While some might make temporary concessions, the goal is the same. It explains not only why the “peace process” failed, but why that failure was and is inevitable.

The primary goal of Palestinian nationalism is to wipe out the State of Israel, not to legitimize its existence.

Any form of Palestinian statehood, therefore, that accepts Israeli sovereignty in what Muslims believe is land stolen by Jews, and a presence that defies Muslim supremacy is, by their definition, heretical.

That is clearly evident in the PLO Covenant and Hamas Charter.

Palestinianism is not an authentic national identity, but a political construct developed in the mid 1960s as part of the PLO’s terrorist agenda. “Liberation” did not refer to Judea, Samaria, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem, which Arabs then controlled, but to Israel itself.

Palestinianism was a way of distinguishing between Arabs and Jews, and between Arabs who lived in Israel before 1948 and other Arabs. The terms “Palestinian Arabs,” or “Arab Palestinians” are not foreign or colonial descriptions; they appear in their own official documents.

Trying to convince Palestinian Arabs to change their concept of Palestinian identity and accept Israel, therefore, means throwing out the struggle to “liberate Palestine from the Zionists.” It assumes that their struggle is to achieve statehood alongside Israel, not to replace Israel with an Arab Muslim state.

This explains why Palestinian leaders refuse to submit to Western and Israeli offers, and why making compromises is anathema. Statehood means denying the Nakba (catastrophe), the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. It means admitting that everything for which they fought and sacrificed was in vain.

Palestinian statehood means abandoning five million Arabs who live in 58 UNRWA-sponsored “refugee camps” in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, and hundreds of thousands living throughout the world who would no longer be considered “refugees.”

Statehood means giving up “the armed struggle” against Israel, the heart of Palestinian identity. It means that the concept of Palestinianism created by Arabs and the PLO, accepted by the UN and the media, and even by Israeli politicians was a hoax, a fake identity with a false purpose. It means that their suffering was for naught.

Statehood involves taking responsibility and ending incitement and violence, confronting the myths of “Palestinian archeology,” and “Palestinian society and culture,” and it requires building authentic nationalism, with just and transparent institutions.

It also means, of course, ending the conflict with Jews, ending the civil war between Islamists and secularists, between tribes and clans, ending corruption and lawlessness, the establishment of a truly democratic government. Accepting Israel means an end to the Palestinian Revolution, a national betrayal, and an Islamic heresy.

In this context, for Palestinians, Arabs and most Muslims, a “peace process,” the “two-state solution” that accepts Israel, is a metaphor for defeat.

As long as massive funding and proposals for solutions are based on establishing a second (or third) Arab Palestinian state west of the Jordan River they ignore inherent contradictions, fan the flames of resentment and undermine Israel’s security and viability.

And, as long as Palestinianism can tap into the unlimited cesspools of Western Jew-hatred and Arab bank accounts the conflict will continue. Calls to “end the occupation,” and anti-Israel BDS campaigns are not about artificial armistice lines, and will not stop there.

A sustainable peace must be regional, involving other Arab countries and the absorption and integration of Arab “refugees” and their descendants. Based on false and misleading assumptions, the Oslo agreements actually made real peace impossible by not linking promises to performance.

We need to return to reality and leave dreamy visions and hype where they belong. As they say, ein breira.

The writer is a PhD historian, writer and journalist living in Israel.

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