For too long, the Palestinian Authority has been calling the shots. Besides its diplomatic offensive in the United Nations and its constant flirtation with European Union member states, most notably Sweden and France, it has set "preconditions" for negotiations, revolving around settlement building and "withdrawal to the 1967 borders". As on college campuses and in diplomatic fora, Israel has allowed itself to be backed against a wall and on the defensive, which so far hasn't been making a compelling for its right to exist. Moreover, the situation Israel finds itself in has been encouraging the corrupt dictator, Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), to continue with his unreasonable demands. It succeeded in getting a settlement freeze for several months from Jerusalem under the Obama Administration's rule. After meeting the preconditions, Israel received no direct talks, but instead another request for a settlement freeze (which was disregarded). 

Now, there's a new administration in Washington, and there must also be a new way of doing things, particularly after the past few disastrous and shameful UNESCO votes and the UN resolution in December. It's time for Israel to go on the offensive. 

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Rather than make demands for an end to preconditions set by Ramallah, Israel should set preconditions of its own for peace talks. As many pro-Palestinians have argued, Israel is the more powerful party--a truth that is obvious to the entire world. But that doesn't mean that Israel should be, or has to be, pressured to give up more. Instead, it means Israel is in a position to make demands from its opponent. First and foremost, it should demand the end of incitement, which includes the end of payments to the families of terrorists, or to the terrorists themselves (a reduction is not enough); the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, and of the Jewish people's aboriginal status in the Land of Israel/"historic Palestine"; and educational reform, so that the next generation will not be going to war. Without the Palestinians meeting any of these goals or conditions, it would be impossible for a peace deal to be reached between the two parties, as Israel would never trust the Palestinians to fully make peace with them, and the status quo would remain. None of this means that the Palestinians have to renounce their presence in the land or their right to independence, but it does mean that the lies of Jews being "European colonizers"; of the Holocaust being the only reason Israel was reestablished; or that Israel is "Judaizing" Jerusalem must come to an end. 


Moreover, issues like Jerusalem and the settlement blocs are completely off the negotiating table, as is the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees and their descendants. This needs to be made more clear. Israel is never going to imperil itself as the Jewish state by accepting an influx of thousands of people who demographically would destroy the Zionist dream, nor would it allow for borders that would leave it in an indefensible position, especially during a time of such instability in the region. The Palestinian Authority needs to get real and understand this, as does the broader international community. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with other Knesset officials, often say that the days of Jews not being able to defend themselves is over. If that's the case, it should be so diplomatically as well. Bibi excels at soft power, and has managed to miraculously decrease the anti-Israel voting bloc in the UN. But he should also plan to do more in the UN to aggressively expose the corruption and inherent, institutionalized racism of the PA, as well as its human rights abuses. Don't even give them the chance to go after Israel and "the occupation" anymore. Instead, force them to be on the defensive. Perhaps more countries will be inclined to side with Israel against extremism and realize that the current Palestinian leadership is not a viable peace partner--thus, leading to more organizations and blocs of countries to pressure the Palestinians to reform their government and education system. Only this will allow for a more liberated and prosperous Palestinian society, and peace with Israel. 
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