If you want an honest statement of the Palestinian position free of the usual posturing, look no further:
In a letter to [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas, Salman Abu Sitta, a prominent spokesman for Palestinian refugees, wrote: “We are aware of the pressure you are facing to abandon the Palestinian position and endorse Israel’s vision. But what has drawn our attention more than anything else is Israel’s attempt to redefine the idea of the two-state solution. Israel now wants mutual recognition – Israel as the national homeland of the Jews and, on what’s left of the land, Palestine as the national homeland of the Palestinians.”
Abu Sitta described the Israeli formula as “extremely dangerous,” saying it should be rejected by all Arabs. He said accepting this formula would be tantamount to abandoning the Arab right to Palestine and accepting the Jews’ ostensible historical and biblical rights to the land.
In addition, Abu Sitta argued, the Israeli stance abolishes the right of return for Palestinians on two levels: recognition of this right and its fulfillment.
“This would constitute a historic burden; no Palestinian could bear its consequences in front of his people and history,” he cautioned. He said it was inconceivable that the Palestinians would abandon the right of return after decades of fighting. — Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post [my emphasis]
And all this time, proponents of a two-state solution have been arguing that the problem is that the correct formula for compromise hasn’t been found yet. They suggest that the Clinton-Barak proposals failed because Israel did not offer enough or because Arafat wasn’t ready for peace.
The real problem is that Israelis and Americans have never really paid attention to what Palestinians say, or have never believed that they actually meant it.
The Palestinians believe a false version of history. They are wrong about the connection of the Jews to the land, they are wrong about the history of the 19th and 20th centuries, and they are especially wrong about their understanding of the events of 1948.
In addition to being mistaken about what actually happened, they are totally blind to their own agency in bringing about their situation. They don’t take responsibility for the actions of al-Husseini (the Nazi Mufti of Jerusalem), Yasser Arafat, Hamas, or any number of murderers and terrorists.
But never mind, this is the version of reality that they believe, with the passion that only a truly miserable people can muster. And this misery has been carefully nurtured over the years by the Arab nations, the UNRWA which was created just for this purpose (and mostly paid for by the US), and the sympathetic international Left which has adopted their cause.
So they have never been, and are not now, willing to accept a compromise solution that leaves room for a Jewish state.
But this should not be Israel’s problem. Why should Israel have to pay for the perfidy of the British and French, the stupidity of al-Husseini, the evil and corruption of Arafat, the grandiose plans of Nasser, the machinations of the Assads, and the fact that the Palestinians have been lied to so thoroughly by themselves and others?
The responsibility for solving the problems of the descendants of the Arab refugees of 1948 should fall on those who really created and perpetuated the problem. Since the UN has entire departments and ‘divisions’ dedicated to Palestinian rights, since it has had several ‘human rights’ bodies that dealt with little else, maybe it could come up with an answer.
Such a solution would involve the abolition of UNRWA, compensation for the treatment these people have received from their ‘host’ nations since 1948, education and job-training programs, and finally resettlement in the host nations or ‘Palestine’ if such an entity is ultimately created — which of course will ultimately be up to the Palestinians themselves.