By Barry Shaw
The position of many world leaders and much of the international diplomatic community is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be entirely solved with a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders.
This approach puts the emphasis on forcing Israel to surrender territory in the name of peace and leaves it as the guilty party if it refuses to do so.
The notion that peace will simply break out by Israel withdrawing from land to which it has a claim equal to, if not exceeding, that of either side of a Palestinian political divide, is a fallacy.
In fact, it has become the fallacy that has prevented progress to any solution. It is a fallacy based on the false premise that all the Palestinians want is a state of their own and that it is Israel that is blocking their desire to live peacefully in their own state. This premise is not a template to peace because it ignores an underlying fault line – that of the different ideologies and mindsets of the two sides. It is worth examining aspects of both sides. This helps us to reach the undeniable truth of why progress is impossible.
Israel has accepted the notion of two states for two peoples. The Palestinians have not.
Israeli policy attempts to ease and improve the lives of Arabs living under Palestinian control, in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This was confirmed by former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to an English-speaking audience in Netanya on Sept. 25, where he said that although he saw no possibility of a diplomatic breakthrough with the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank or Gaza, he fully supported improving the lives and living conditions of the Arabs living under Palestinian control.
Israel coordinates daily with the Palestinian Authority both in civil and security matters. Israel has ceded full civil and security control to the PA in Area A, and full civil control in Area B, as defined by the 1993 Oslo Accords. It allows Palestinian forces to be trained and armed in these territories. Between 800 and 1,000 trucks flow daily from Israel into the Gaza Strip, debunking allegations that it is imposing a total blockade on the enclave.
The Palestinians, on the other hand, are waging a war of delegitimization against the Jewish state in which they set back any chance of genuine statehood by rejecting recognition of Israel as the Jewish state. The PA mounts massive and successful anti-Israel and anti-Semitic campaigns in international forums that include their allegations that Jews have no history or heritage with respect to places like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
They claim statehood where no statehood exists. They demand that Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, be their capital, even though their administrative and political centers are based in Ramallah and Gaza City. And it is shocking that the diplomatic community supports all these false claims.
The international community ignores the misuse of funding to the Palestinian Authority with over $300 million allocated to terrorists and their families. Not only Hamas, but also the PA is a terror-ridden organization. Palestine Media Watch, in its latest report dated Sept. 27, revealed that the Palestinian Authority now has 75 schools named after terrorists or Nazi collaborators. One of these schools is funded by the Belgian government.
Both sides of the Palestinian political divide constantly make inflammatory anti-Semitic remarks when referring to Israel. Mahmoud Abbas has a long history of hitting at Jews as he assaults Israel.
While addressing the European Parliament on June 24, 2016, he accused rabbis of demanding the Israeli government poison Palestinian water. Prior to that, in another blatantly offensive anti-Semitic remark, he said that “we will not allow Jews with their filthy feet” to defile the Temple Mount.
Deep Palestinian anti-Semitism can be found in the infamous Hamas Charter, which quotes the hadith: “The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
This then is the asymmetry that prevents any possible solution to the impasse between Israel and the Palestinians.
It is not about borders or territory. It is about this deep schism between the two sides that has prevented progress for decades.
Until the international community faces up to this obvious obstacle of the ideological asymmetry between the two sides, do not expect a solution any day soon.
Barry Shaw is the senior associate for public diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.
Article posted in its entirety with permission from the author.