Much has been written about Israeli leaders, such as Benjamin Netanyahu, catering to their electorate in their stance with the Palestinians.
This is incorrect.
In a speech at Bar Ilan University, shortly after taking office as prime minister, he reached out with a declaration of acceptance to a two state solution. Such a clear declaration has not been made by Palestinian leaders.
He agreed to a freeze in settlement building, something that had never been requested before. He has repeatedly called for talk with no preconditions, something that has not been met favourably by the Palestinians.
Previous prime ministers including Yizhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, have all tried to reach a pragmatic Palestinian leader to make peace. Ariel Sharon unilaterally removed nine thousands Israelis from their homes in the Gaza Strip.
All we got in return from the Palestinian side has been intransigence, rejectionism, and even greater demands.
There is an assumption that their leaders are hampered by the Israelis. In fact, they are hampered by their own people, and by their own lack of courage.
Who can blame them when the reaction of the rank and file Palestinian Arab is for total victory. Nothing has been done to condition their people for peace as can be seen by reading their media, watching their official television, and seeing public squares, facilities, sporting and cultural events named after terrorists.
Both Arafat and Abbas have more than hinted that they were fearful of their own public opinion. There is a lot to justify their claims.
Arafat rejected peace terms at Camp David because he could not sell them to his people.
It was better for him to polish his image by kick-starting the second intifada and the resultant deaths on both sides than have the courage to lead his people into a peaceful state of Palestine. He was more comfortable with violence than statesmanship.
When the Palestinian Arabs heard the rumour that Mahmoud Abbas was discussing a compromise on the refugees issue with Olmert his people accused him of treason.
In a 2010 poll conducted by the Israel Project the findings frightening confirm that the Palestinian people demand their leaders to bring them the head of Israel on a plate. Some of their findings included:
1) 60% of Palestinians support the proposition that “the real goal should be to
start with two states but then move to it all being one Palestinian state”.
2) Only 30% supported the contrasting proposition that “the best goal is for a two state
solution that keeps two states living side by side”. A mere 12% of Palestinians supported that proposition “strongly”.
3) 66% support the proposition that “over time Palestinians must
work to get back all the land for a Palestinian state” with 42% strongly supporting that proposition.
4) Only 23% supported the contrasting proposition that “Israel has a permanent right to
exist as a homeland for the Jewish people”.
5) 71% believe Yasser Arafat was right to reject the two state solution brokered by Bill Clinton in 2000 which offered the Palestinians East Jerusalem as well as a peace settlement along 1967 lines. Only 24 percent said that in retrospect they did believe Arafat should have accepted the deal.
6) 55% support the proposition that “a Palestinian state should be run by Sharia law” with only 35% supporting the contrasting proposition that “a Palestinian state should be run by civil law”.
7) 56% agreed with the proposition that “we will have to resort to armed struggle again” while 38 percent supported the contrasting proposition that “violence only hurts Palestinians and the days of armed struggle are over”.
The leadership in Ramallah takes their instruction from the Fatah Revolutionary Council who speaks on behalf of the majority of the people, at least in the West Bank. In November 2010 the Council ordered their leadership not to agree to any land swops with the Israelis in any peace deal. They demanded that they cannot agree to any temporary borders. They rejected recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
Let’s remind ourselves that this is the ‘moderate’ section of Palestinian society. Hamas, in the Gaza Strip is even more extreme in its ambitions for Israel.
So let’s be clear on this point, it is the radicalism of the Palestinian people themselves that is the biggest obstacle to peace. By their own record, Palestinians have spoken loudly and agree that their overriding ambition remains the elimination of Israel.
While this is happening the world, in its naivety, is forcing a ‘solution’ that will surely lead to the next major conflict and not to peace.
Countries are lining up to pronounce their recognition of Palestine as an independent country. In their stampede to do so, they flout contractual agreements between the Palestinians and Israel that this would not happen until after a full and final agreement between the two parties.
By railroading the declaration of a Palestinian state at this early stage they weaken and endanger Israel both diplomatically and in its security.
The rush to judgment comes at a particularly worrying time when Palestinian rejection, not of the peace process but of Israel itself, is at its peak.
By identifying with a Palestinian Authority that has been pronouncing the most heinous anti-Semitic statements shows that many countries are out of touch, or are ignoring, realities on the ground.
They prefer to stick with their preordained ideals that only by forcing their solution will there be peace in the Middle East.
If only it were so.
Enforcing a Palestinian state without first getting them to accept issues of security, borders, and refugees is tantamount to giving them the keys to Israel itself.
By ignoring Israel’s pleas that this move is illegitimate in face of prior commitments the international community are, again, saying they care less for Israel’s security than they do about establishing an aggressive, rejectionist, Palestinian entity.
By accepting a Palestinian state at this time the international community accepts all their rhetoric, their internal resolutions, and their charter that they will never recognize Israel, that their state will be yet another racist Islamic state free of Jews, without borders, and with the festering issue of the right of return for Palestinian Arabs into Israel left unsolved.
This dangerous diplomacy jeopardizes the future of Israel.
This display of international lunacy will gather speed throughout 2011, further complicating the peace process and driving the region to conflict.
Israel’s opinions, it seems, are of no consequence in this international flight of madness.