After Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s surprise, but welcome visit to Israel last week, talk has already begun about a possible trilateral Israeli-Egyptian-Palestinian peace summit in Cairo. While many international observers would look upon this with a renewed sense of hope, it did not take long for that hope to be quickly dashed by the Palestinian Authority with a list of unreasonable demands that would render such a meeting impossible.
One of those demands was a settlement freeze, something Israel already implemented back in September 2010. But, as always, the Palestinian leadership refused to negotiate with Israel anyway, which just proved their settlement demand was nothing but an empty ruse.
Another one of Abbas’s demands was that Israel must accede to any negotiations based on the pre-1967 lines, which is in effect the 1949 Armistice line, and also pledge ahead to implement any agreements on that basis. Of course, this begs the question that if Israel agrees to a demand like this, what exactly is there left to negotiate?
Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu said, as he has always said consistently over a number of years, that he would be willing to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo or anywhere for that matter, while the Palestinian President has been equally consistent, as he too has been for many years, to rebuff any offer of talks which do not meet his demands.
Either way, whatever conditions and demands the Palestinian leadership set, they are, in effect, nothing more than window dressing, designed to present an external image to the world of a Palestinian Authority who supposedly seeks peace, while the internal message says the exact opposite.
The US and the UN and EU officials continue to fall over themselves in a frantic bid to implement a two-state solution which they tell us will bring peace, while the Palestinians continue to thwart any such plans with unreasonable demands they know will never be agreed to. They say they want a solution, but are in reality quite comfortable living in a situation where they are seen as an “occupied nation” living under the “brutal Israeli regime.” It’s a ploy that has worked well for them, because most international organisations and countries place the onus on Israel to compromise as an “occupying power”, rather than the Palestinians who continue to receive a free pass even as they continue to incite and promote terrorism, funded by the European Union and others.
It is hard sometimes for Western sensibilities to grasp, but the Palestinians are not after peace, and never have been. They have never shown any desire for statehood for themselves, but rather only in the context of getting rid of Israel. In 1947, when presented exactly with the option they demand today, the Arabs, as they weren’t called Palestinians then, simply rejected it, relying on the Arab armies of the region to deliver on their promise of destroying any newly founded Jewish state.
In the ensuing years between 1948 and 1967, there was never once any interest on the Arab side to create an additional Arab state in the areas of Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank today. These areas were under complete Arab control with not a single Jew living there – conditions perfect to achieve that so-called “dream” of an additional Arab state. And yet… nothing happened.
Then once those areas came under Israeli control after the Six Day war, the Arab response was not to finally negotiate, but instead to reject all forms of negotiation as they did in the Khartoum Resolution of September 1967, where they said: No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with Israel.
If we jump ahead a little further in time to the Camp David accords of 2000, where Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat almost everything he demanded, including over 92% of Judea and Samaria, a 100% of Gaza and even control over most of east Jerusalem for nothing but the simple declaration of “ending the conflict,” it was still rejected by Arafat. But not only was it rejected, Arafat then launched a terrorist war known as Intifada 2 using terrorist infrastructure that was built up since the Oslo agreement with funds and weapons from the US, Europe and Israel itself.
Arafat’s successor in Mahmoud Abbas has fared no better, rejecting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s peace offer in 2008 by simply walking out without so much as a counter offer. And today he continues to reject any offers of negotiation or even talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Just the other week, he refused to meet with the Israeli President Rivlin, instead preferring to deliver an anti-Semitic tirade in the European Parliament.
What is clear from the many years of Palestinian rejectionism is that they are incapable of ending the conflict with Israel, because they are defined by the very conflict itself. It feeds them, gives their existence legitimacy, for what would they do if there was no conflict? Build a state? Build institutions? Educate their people? These are the things for which Western mentality strives, not Arab. Abbas does not want the responsibility of statehood, preferring to live as the eternal “oppressed” victims seeking a “justice” that will not come.
Today, the terms that are thrown around and accepted by the parties of the world like the United Nations and others are nothing more than red herrings designed to obfuscate the conflict rather than clarify it. The Palestinians demand of settlements is nonsensical, because they never sought statehood when no settlements existed. Their talk of occupation is a farce, for they also never sought statehood when not a single grain of sand in Judea and Samaria was “occupied” by a single Jew.
The Palestinian Authority, like the PLO and the other factions exist only for the continued efforts of Israel’s destruction, rather than the development of their own societies.
And all this time, a world continues to desperately cling to a two-state solution, convinced that if a Palestinian state was miraculously formed, there would be peace throughout the world. But they have it entirely wrong, because the Arab-Israeli conflict was never about two states in the first place – it was simply about eliminating the Jewish presence from the Middle East. Even if another Arab state called Palestine was created, it does not change the raison d'être for the existence of the various Palestinian factions, as illustrated in the Hamas charter which clearly calls for the destruction of all Jews anywhere in the world. All another country would do would be to create an additional terrorist entity with all the trappings and pomp and legitimacy of an internationally accepted state.
For now, it is impossible to achieve the kind of peace that a reasonable person would want, for the Palestinians under Abbas and others have not only condemned their generation to hatred, but their children’s too. Their incitement to hatred and indoctrination to murder have amounted to a generational child abuse that will never be eliminated without a seismic shift in attitude.
Peace was never in reach, because the two state solution was a mirage that was never real, but instead came about as simply the exploitation of the hopes of Israelis to live in peace and security with their neighbours, just as they’ve always desired. It was never realistic, because it was built partially on the premise that the Palestinian leadership wanted to give their children a better future.
It was a premise that was wrong.