Palestinians Must Show They Can Be Trusted Ahead of Statehood

Friday, 23 Sep 2011 09:31 AM

By Tawfik Hamid

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All attempts over several decades to create a two-state solution for the Arab-Israeli conflict have ended in failure.

On one hand, the Israelis ask themselves a basic question: Why should we accept the statehood of people who shamelessly promote in their media, educational systems, and public speeches our annihilation and destruction?

On the other hand, the Palestinians want to play a trick by gaining statehood without accepting the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state in the region. This refusal lays the groundwork for a Palestinian state to continue its stated goal, since the time of Arafat, of taking over all the land of Israel. It is this reality that has and will continue to prevent the two-state solution.

High levels of anti-Semitism in all the surrounding Arab countries further impede hope for any solution, as Israel's security concerns are totally realistic.

Further attempts to create a two-state solution in the current atmosphere of anti-Semitism from the Palestinian side and mistrust from the Israeli side are likely to be about as effective as banging our heads against the proverbial brick wall.

The only situation that has resulted in some resolution for an Arab-Israeli conflict occurred when President Sadat of Egypt accepted the existence of Israel and expressed a true desire to live in peace beside the Israelis. The offer of President Sadat was welcomed by the Israelis and resulted in the returning of Sinai back to Egypt.

The following “two-stage” solution may help resolving the conflict:

Stage 1: Palestinians would offer to accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, criminalize anti-Semitic remarks in their societies, and teach educational curricula that promote living in peace with the Israelis.

This stage would need to last for 2-3 years to prove that the Palestinians are genuinely interested in peace with their Israeli neighbors, not in deception.

Stage 2: After the Palestinians have demonstrated true ability to live peacefully beside and with acceptance of the state of Israel, border disputes could be addressed and resolved. The atmosphere of peace and relationships of trust must however be created first.

We have to accept the reality that Israel's peace treaty with Egypt and return of Sinai to Egypt has not yet achieved true normalization of their relationship. Israelis are therefore understandably suspicious about future peace deals with Arab nations. Palestinians would need to prove their commitment to peace and accept international monitoring to verify their actions.

In sum, this two-stage solution rather than the traditional two-state solution may offer more potential for solving the Arab-Israeli conflict.



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