Achieving peace depends on a Palestinian leadership wanting peace

Time to stop and ‘reset’, to use a concept favored by Barack Obama. The Oslo idea that peace can be made between Israelis and Palestinians by dealing with a leadership made from the PLO is clearly bankrupt. For proof, read Barry Rubin’s analysis of Fatah here.

There are two kinds of people who favor the ‘peace process’ with the Palestinian Authority/PLO/Fatah:

  • Those who think that the Jewish state should not exist and that the process is an effective way to weaken it; and
  • Those who don’t understand the Palestinians or their politics.

The US State Department is full of the former, while the latter are found among the media and President Obama’s advisors (not all of them — he has some from the first group too).

In 2002, President Bush said:

I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts…

Today, Palestinian authorities are encouraging, not opposing, terrorism. This is unacceptable. And the United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure…

He was right about the need for change, but that election didn’t work out. The Palestinians voted for Hamas. Now the Palestinian territories are split between Hamas and a Fatah run by  70-year old hardliners dreaming of the glorious airline hijackings and terror operations of the 1970’s and 80’s while their actual influence gets smaller each day.

Reset. Back to the idea that achieving peace depends on a Palestinian leadership wanting peace. That means a readiness to compromise on their basic demand that there be no state of Israel. That is one demand that can’t be met, no matter if they put it in terms of a ‘right of return’ or the Arab peace initiative or whatever.

Oslo opened a can of worms, and many evil things crawled out of it — like the reign of Yasser Arafat, the empowerment of Hamas, the thousands of dead on both sides in the war and terrorism that followed. They can’t be put back.

Barack Obama could do both Israelis and Palestinians a favor by not opening the much larger barrel of worms that would be an imposed settlement.

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One Response to “Achieving peace depends on a Palestinian leadership wanting peace”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    The imposed settlement idea is one championed by among others Sari Nusseibeh. The idea is that the conditions imposed will be far closer to the Palestinian idea of a two- state solution than to the Israeli one. Or to say this more correctly closer to the idea that the few Palestinians who truly accept this idea would like. One of the dangers of this idea is that the solution might well be endorsed by prominent Israelis including President Peres and even Defense Minister Barak. The American tactic would be to blame Israel for the failure, divide and lead to the downfall of the Israeli government, bring the one to power who they believe will agree with such a program, Tzipi Livni. It seems that the one sure consequence of putting forward such a program would be the further isolating of Israel.