False optimism in the service of peace is no virtue.
A press release from The Israel Project:
Jerusalem, July 26 – Israel’s President Shimon Peres said Tuesday that Israel is closer than ever to peace with the Palestinians. He made the remarks at an event for Arabic press organized in cooperation with The Israel Project’s People-to-People Arabic Media Program…
Peres said that both the Israeli people and their government support a two-state solution.
“Peace is made even when it is considered impossible. Peace is just a matter of time, but I prefer that we move quickly,” he said. “Today’s youth are driving the push for peace,” said Peres, noting that the Arab Spring resulted from the Arab public’s desire for real, grassroots change…
A recent poll commissioned by The Israel Project shows that Palestinians in the West Bank are supportive of negotiations with Israel as a path to peace. The poll also shows that they view their well-being – getting jobs, healthcare and investments – as a new priority in the Arab Spring.
Both Peres and The Israel Project are wrong. I analyzed the poll mentioned in the press release here, and it shows precisely the opposite. It shows that insofar as grassroots Palestinian Arabs support negotiations with Israel, it is as a path to replacing Israel with an Arab state. Many support Hamas’ antisemitic principles, even if they do not want to live under a Hamas regime. And almost none believe that “Israel has a permanent right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people.”
As far as economic issues, it’s true that they chose jobs as the top priority of a Palestinian government — but only because no option relating to the elimination of Israel was offered!
If the Palestinian in the street doesn’t want ‘two states for two peoples’, who does? How about the moderate elements in the leadership?
Afraid not. Thanks to MEMRI and Barry Rubin, we present here a smoking gun in the form of a statement made by the quintessential ‘moderate’, the US-educated Dr. Nabil Shaath, Deputy PM and Minister of Information in the Palestinian Authority:
Nabil Shaath: The recognition of a [Palestinian] state is basically a bilateral action, which receives the blessing of the UN. This act, however, will make many things possible in the future. Eventually, we will be able to sign bilateral agreements with states, and this will enable us to exert pressure on Israel. At the end of the day, we want to exert pressure on Israel, in order to force it to recognize us and to leave our country. This is our long-term goal…
[The French initiative] reshaped the issue of the “Jewish state” into a formula that is also unacceptable to us – two states for two peoples. They can describe Israel itself as a state for two peoples, but we will be a state for one people. The story of “two states for two peoples” means that there will be a Jewish people over there and a Palestinian people here. We will never accept this – not as part of the French initiative and not as part of the American initiative. We will not sacrifice the 1.5 million Palestinians with Israeli citizenship who live within the 1948 borders, and we will never agree to a clause preventing the Palestinian refugees from returning to their country. We will not accept this, whether the initiative is French, American, or Czechoslovakian.
Here Shaath explains what the PA understands as the kind of ‘two-state’ solution that they will accept: “A state for one people,” that is, the racist state east of the Green Line that Mahmoud Abbas was thinking of when he said that “no Israeli will remain” when ‘Palestine’ is declared, and “a state for two peoples”: Israel, which will be converted into an Arab-majority state when the descendents of the 1948 refugees join the Arab citizens of Israel.
He also suggests the strategy that they will use to do this, which is the same as that described by Abbas in his May, 2011 NY Times oped:
Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice…
And what claims will they have, once they have a state in the presently disputed territories?
Once admitted to the United Nations, our state stands ready to negotiate all core issues of the conflict with Israel. A key focus of negotiations will be reaching a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on Resolution 194, which the General Assembly passed in 1948.
Resolution 194 does not in fact call for the admission of millions of hostile descendents of Arab refugees to be admitted to Israel. But it has always been interpreted as such by the Arabs.
If the UN were to admit ‘Palestine’, it might be the first time a new state has been created whose essence is no more or less than the destruction of an existing member state.