In the last few days and weeks, there have been a number of separate events with the aim of achieving one goal: to apply pressure on Israel supposedly to force her to advance the peace process.
First the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, began a lobbying campaign in the United Nations Security with the intention of securing a resolution that would establish a deadline for the withdrawal of Israel to the pre-1967 borders. Thus, according to Abbas’ goal, by Nov. 16, a Palestinian state is to be established on the Palestinian territories that were taken by Israel as a result of the Six Days War.
Abbas claims that his new initiative is the result of Israel’s “inflexibility.” Abbas also concluded that the United States may no longer be a fair mediator requesting that the international community do so instead.
Shortly after the new prime-minister Stefan Löfven took office, the Swedish government also announced that it would recognize the “state of Palestine.”
Sweden’s step is inspired by the notion that the peace process (which has been stagnant for quite some time) could move forward as a result of this very recognition.
Then, the British House of Commons adopted a similar nonbinding resolution, which was supported only by 274 out of the 650 members of the House. Most members chose not to vote. The House speaker Richard Ottaway, a conservative, voted for the resolution because of his frustration with Israel’s decision in August to declare 1,000 acres in the Etzion bloc in the West Bank as “state land.”
The British ambassador to Israel even justified the resolution by citing Israel’s behavior in the recent military operation in Gaza. While Israel’s move in the West Bank may be controversial, the British ambassador surprisingly displayed a biased position on the issue of Gaza. Hamas started the war and refused several cease-fire offers while Israel accepted them all. Additionally, no independent and objective body ever confirmed that Israel violated the law or committed any war crimes.
Very few people who wish for genuine peace would question that the two-state solution is ideally the best solution. However, what these statements have in common is that they all wrongly hold Israel responsible for the stagnation of the peace process.
The Palestinians have a ceaseless propaganda machine that continues to accuse Israel of expansion, genocide, racism, discrimination and many other demeaning terms. Mahmoud Abbas’s last speech at the United Nations, antagonistic and devoid of any conciliatory tone, was nothing new for those who follow that dangerous Palestinian official rhetoric.
The Palestinian incitement in the media and the education system exacerbates the issue. A recent report by the Anti-Defamation League shows that the worst and most vicious anti-Semitic prejudices and feelings are to be found in the Palestinian territories.
Second, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is the object of antipathy by many western leaders. He is the one who appears intransigent. Yet, all seem to forget that for 10 years before Netanyahu was elected, Israel had offered concessions to the Palestinians three times that included withdrawal from most of the West Bank, land-swap offers and the division of Jerusalem.
In addition, Israel totally withdrew from Gaza and dismantled its settlements. The Palestinians rejected these offers, demanding that Israel cease to be a Jewish state by accepting 3 million Palestinians as citizens; demanded full control over Jerusalem’s Holy sites or failed to respond to altogether.
Furthermore, the Palestinian Authority lost Gaza to Hamas after a quick military defeat, effectively making the territory vacated by Israel into a terrorist bastion from where the Israeli population became the object of constant attacks. Netanyahu was elected in 2009 after Palestinians missed huge opportunities with moderate Prime Ministers.
Abbas is weak because he feels threatened by Hamas on the one hand, and, on the other hand, is not encouraged by the Arab world. He is fearful that any compromise with Israel will bring about a second Hamas take over in the West Bank.
In addition, the late Yasser Arafat and Abbas’ insistence on making 3 million Palestinians citizens of Israel and having control over the holy sites in Jerusalem show that the Palestinian aspirations are not limited to independence or the end of occupation.
Arafat admitted that the Muslim and Arab world would not forgive him for giving up control over Jerusalem’s holy sites. Likewise, when Abbas declared that his native Safed now belongs to Israel, he faced such a negative reaction among Palestinians that he was forced to retract his words.
Why should the Palestinian leadership negotiate on behalf of the Arab and Muslim world if all they want is to end the occupation and live in freedom in an independent state?
By the same token, why demand that millions of Palestinians become citizens of Israel, a formula that could only bring about civil war, religious and national tensions and in consequence more blood-letting and suffering?
Can the international community be fair, and, most importantly, also effective by demanding that the Palestinian Authority cease its incitement and build the infrastructure for Palestinian self-determination in their future state?
Can the international community help neutralize the power of Hamas, an entity that seeks the total destruction of Israel?
It is obviously easier to make demands on Israel. However, even if Israel does comply with these demands, the Palestinian side will sooner or later show its flaws and peace is not likely to be achieved at any time soon.
Luis Fleischman has worked as adviser for the Menges Hemispheric Security Project at the Center for Security Policy on issues related to Latin America, hemispheric security, democracy, and U.S policy in Latin America. He is the author of "Latin America in the Post-Chavez Era: The Threat to U.S. Security." Fleischman is an adjunct professor of sociology and political science at Florida Atlantic University Honors College and FAU Lifelong Learning Society. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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