A group of young Meretz Party activists sent a letter on Wednesday to Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal calling on him to release kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, recognize the State of Israel and launch negotiations on a ceasefire to promote the establishment of a Palestinian state…
“The Israeli occupation and the Palestinian terror have failed. The only solution is mutual recognition of the fact that both nations are here to stay and must therefore develop a normal relationship,” they told Mashaal in the letter.
If only it were that simple!
I don’t know what the Meretz activists think — that Mashaal will see their point, that his statement that he would agree to an independent Palestinian state with pre-1967 borders was a real offer of peace which must be pursued, or what.
It’s certain that Mashaal has not repudiated the Hamas Covenant, which calls for Israel to be destroyed.
This is a textbook case of why the ‘Western liberal approach’ to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict doesn’t work.
A normal relationship between the two nations is the last thing that Mashaal wants. Ending the occupation of the territories, establishing a Palestinian state and living in peace and prosperity is not his goal. In Mashaal’s world, the Palestinian terror has not failed. It has gained Hamas control of Gaza, and will shortly do the same for much of the West Bank. No, it has not yet succeeded in driving the Jews from Haifa, Jaffa, and Jerusalem, but in time he believes that it will.
Why on earth should he agree to end a policy that is achieving its aims in order to obtain a goal that he does not desire?
The Meretz activists think that Mashaal wants what they want: peace and prosperity. In fact, not even ‘moderate’ Palestinians like Mahmoud Abbas want this. What they want is to reverse the outcome of 1948 and recover their honor by expelling the Jews from the land that they believe was stolen from them.
From a Western point of view, the Palestinians are irrational, but they are what they are.
I think we are not going to succeed in teaching the Palestinians history. We are not going to explain to them that the Jewish state is really legitimate, and that they should give up the irredentist dream which has come to dominate the consciousness of the entire people — indeed, which has in essence created the ‘Palestinian people’.
What we need to do is to teach them in a practical way that terrorism will not bring their goal closer, and that the consequences of its employment will be horrific for them.
What this implies will not make the Meretz activists happy. One thing is that Israel must never respond to terrorism by giving up control of land, as she did in Gaza. ‘Ending the occupation’ is not likely in the near-term. And another is that the response to terrorism must be severe.
Does this mean that there is never a possibility of peace? Assuming that Israel is capable of continuing the struggle with as much or more perseverance as the Arabs, then some day an Arab leadership will arise that is prepared to say, as Rabin did, “Enough”.
But this won’t be today, and it certainly won’t be Mashaal!