The negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are supposed to result in “two states for two peoples”. Even US negotiator George Mitchell thinks so. Here is what he said last week at Sharm el-Sheikh, where Israeli and PA negotiators began a second round of talks:
Our common goal remains two states for two peoples. And we are committed to a solution to the conflict that resolves all issues for the state of Israel and a sovereign, independent, and viable state of Palestine living side by side in peace and security. [my emphasis]
The ‘two peoples’, for Mitchell, are the Jewish and Palestinian peoples. And finding a solution means, in particular, that the PA will drop its claims against Israel.
I’ve argued that the PLO/Fatah which presently dominates the PA does not accept either of these principles. They do not believe that there is a Jewish people — they insist that there is only a Jewish religion — and they do not accept the rights of the Jews to any of the land, which in their view is ‘owned’ by the Palestinian Arabs. This has been a consistent theme, which the US and the ‘peace processors’ have just as consistently ignored.
Yesterday Salam Fayyad, the most ‘moderate’ representative of the PA — he is not even a member of Fatah — expressed it in a way which cannot be ignored any longer:
NEW YORK — Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad angrily left a UN Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee meeting and canceled a scheduled subsequent press conference with Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon in New York on Tuesday, after Ayalon refused to approve a summary of the meeting which said “two states” but did not include the words “two states for two peoples.”
“What I say is that if the Palestinians are not willing to talk about two states for two peoples, let alone a Jewish state for Israel, then there’s nothing to talk about,” Ayalon told the Post in a telephone interview. “And also, I said if the Palestinians mean, at the end of the process, to have one Palestinian state and one bi-national state, this will not happen.” … “I also said that I don’t need the Palestinians to say Israel is a Jewish state in Hebrew. I need them to say it in Arabic to their own people.” — Jerusalem Post
Recently the PA has been threatening that if the ‘freeze’ on construction east of the 1949 lines is not extended, they will leave the talks. Naturally, this would be spun as Israel’s fault — or at best the fault of ‘right-wing’ elements in Netanyahu’s government — and Israel would be subjected to pressure to submit. This is the normal process, apparently, in which Israel is forced to make concessions for nothing.
But now Fayyad has shown the world that the PA simply cannot live next door to a Jewish state. How will it be possible to spin this as Israel’s fault?
Nevertheless, at a different meeting, he was in more comfortable territory:
NEW YORK, Sept 21, 2010 (AFP) – The western-backed Palestinian Authority requires an additional 500 million dollars in aid this year, prime minister Salam Fayyad said on Monday ahead of a key donor meeting.
“What we are looking for now in the course of what remains of this year is to find about half a billion dollars that we will need to balance the books,” Fayyad told reporters.
He was speaking following a meeting hosted by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store with foreign ministers of Arab states who were pressed to meet up their pledges for aid…
The Norwegian foreign minister said that Israeli road blocks and administrative impediments in the occupied West Bank were the biggest challenge impeding Palestinian development.
Wrong. The biggest challenge is this: it is far more important to them for there to not be a Jewish state than for there to be a Palestinian one. They proved this in 1937, 1947, 2000 and 2008. And now they are proving it again.
Update [23 Sept 1034 PDT]: Now the Palestinians claim that it was Ayalon who walked out of the meeting, contradicting YNet and JPost (the YNet article was tweeted by Ayalon). The Norwegian FM said that “the meeting completed normally.”
But whoever lost his cool is irrelevant. There was no final statement or press conference because Fayyad would not accept “two states for two peoples.”