Palestinerne vil ha i pose og sekk

Abu Khaled Toameh

The Pale­sti­ni­ans are divi­ded today into two camps – one that is radi­cal and anot­her that is less radi­cal -- or “mode­rate” in the words of the West.

The radi­cal camp is hea­ded by Hamas and other extre­mist groups such as the Isla­mic Jihad organization.

This camp’s mes­sage is: We want 100% of eve­rything and we will not make any con­ces­sions to Israel. We want all the land, from the Medi­ter­ranean to the Jor­dan River. We want to replace Israel with an Isla­mic state where Jews who wish to could live as a minority.

There is no point in tal­king about the pos­si­bi­lity of nego­tia­ting with this radi­cal camp about peace, espec­ially as its decla­red goal is to eli­mi­nate Israel -- not make peace with it.

The only thing Israel could talk to the radi­cals about is how and when to dis­mantle the Jewish state and send Israe­lis to Europe, Rus­sia, the US and their Arab countries of origin.

The less radi­cal camp, hea­ded by the PLO and a minority of secu­lar Pale­sti­ni­ans, is also say­ing that it wants 100%, but only of the pre-1967 lines -– meaning the entire West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

Like the radi­cals, the “mode­rate” camp is also say­ing that it will not and can­not make any con­ces­sions to Israel on its ter­ri­to­rial demands.

With such positions, it is hard to see how the peace process could lead to any­thing posi­tive. The radi­cals do not want to nego­tiate with Israel because they do not rec­og­nize its right to exist and believe it should be wiped off the face of the earth. The so-called mode­ra­tes say they are ready to return to the nego­tia­ting table, but only if Israel agrees in advance to give them 100% of their demands.

Yet the cen­tral pro­blem is that even if Israel does accept all their demands, neit­her camp is wil­ling to com­mit to ending the con­flict. This is basi­cally why the 2000 Camp David sum­mit fai­led – because Yas­ser Ara­fat was not pre­pared to sign any docu­ment that cal­led for end of con­flict even after a peace deal were reached between Israel and the Palestinians.

Furt­her, no “mode­rate” Pale­sti­nian lea­der would dare to sign such a docu­ment out of fear of being denoun­ced by his people -- and the rest of the Arab and Isla­mic countries -- for having “sold out” to Israel by giving up the claim to all of the land.

Because the less-radical camp knows that Israel will not and can­not accept all their demands, they have deci­ded to stay away from the peace talks. They have instead cho­sen to nego­tiate with the inter­na­tio­nal com­mu­nity about the estab­lish­ment of a Pale­sti­nian state. That is why they pre­fer to nego­tiate with France, Ger­many, Bri­tain and South Ame­ri­can countries about the two-state solution.

The Pale­sti­nian Aut­hority, which today repre­sents the less-radical camp, is hoping that the inter­na­tio­nal com­mu­nity will give the Pale­sti­ni­ans what Israel is not giving it at the nego­tia­ting table. The goal of the Pale­sti­nian Aut­hority lea­dership is to inter­na­tio­na­lize the con­flict with the hope of impos­ing a solu­tion on Israel. This is the main rea­son why it has deci­ded to go to the UN in Sep­tem­ber with a request to rec­og­nize a Pale­sti­nian state along the pre-1967 lines.

The UN may approve the Pale­sti­nian Authority’s request. But the Pale­sti­ni­ans will only get a state on paper – in the form of anot­her meaning­less UN reso­lu­tion. The only way to achieve a state is through nego­tia­tions with Israel, whether the Pale­sti­ni­ans like Israel or not.

And the Pale­sti­ni­ans have good rea­son to be opti­mi­s­tic about nego­tia­tions with Israel. A majority of Jews, accor­ding to seve­ral pub­lic opi­nion polls, believe in the two-state solu­tion. The only debate inside Israel today is not whether there should be a Pale­sti­nian state, but how much land the Pale­sti­ni­ans will get.

Hence it would be wise if Mah­moud Abbas refrai­ned from pushing Israel to the cor­ner through his state­hood bid, and agreed to return imme­dia­tely to the nego­tia­ting table.

More­over, Abbas needs to be warned that his Sep­tem­ber ini­tia­tive could be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive for the Pale­sti­ni­ans and dama­ging for the two-state solu­tion. Such an ini­tia­tive would not only damage the Pale­sti­ni­ans’ rela­tions with the US and most EU countries, who are all oppo­sed to the state­hood plan; these par­ties have also hinted that finan­cial aid to the Pale­sti­ni­ans would be affected if Abbas insis­ted on proce­e­ding with his plan. The Pale­sti­ni­ans would then be held respon­s­ible for sabo­ta­ging the peace process by embar­king on a uni­la­te­ral step in vio­la­tion of the Oslo Accords.

That’s what the Pale­sti­nian Aut­hority would say. The Ame­ri­cans and Euro­peans dis­agree and that’s why they are urging the Pale­sti­ni­ans to return to the nego­tia­tions. Add to this the fact that Israel has repeatedly expressed its desire to resume the peace talks.

Abu Kha­led Toameh er jour­na­list i Jeru­sa­lem Post. Denne artik­ke­len sto i Docu­ment tak­ker Toameh for til­la­telse til å gjengi hans artikler.

Pale­sti­ni­ans Can­not Accept Less than 100%
by Kha­led Abu Toameh
July 12, 2011

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