When looking at the Israeli government’s record with regard to the negotiations with the Palestinians one cannot escape the feeling that we are witnessing a major effort to delay any reasonable agreement as much as possible. The government conducts itself in as objectionable a manner as can be (continuing and increasing settlement activities) and by raising issues and demands that are known to be non-starters, some of them as prior conditions (a.e. recognition as a Jewish state).
The Palestinian Authority is at a nadir in its power and influence due to the weakness of the Arab states which traditionally support the Palestinian cause and the difficulty of obtaining sustainable support from Western countries. The lack of progress in the peace process coupled with the enduring malaise of the Palestinian economy and the overall political uncertainty in the area may well lead to a break-up of the Palestinian authority as we know it. Several times in the past, President Abbas has threatened to “throw in the towel” and return the territories to Israeli military control. That option may once gain become attractive as Israel’s delaying tactics keep diminishing the substance of the budding Palestinian state. Just as well, we can by no means be certain that it is not a silent objective of the present Israeli government to break up the Palestinian Authority in order to avoid implementing a politically difficult and costly solution to the conflict and forego the need to create a Palestinian state in earnest.
As a result of the above developments, the formation of the Palestinian state, a process that has been going on (and off) since 1993, is losing momentum and appears to be floundering. What we are witnessing is a process of deconstructing Palestine.
Israel which owes it’s existence to Zionism, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, not necessarily in that order appears to attempt to terminally scuttle the objectives of the Palestinian national movement which was created as a response to the Zionist enterprise in Palestine.
The undeclared and underhanded campaign to shut down Palestinian efforts at obtaining statehood has been recognized by the international community but has largely not been acted upon by governments. Most of them are still hedging although some have lately begun to become more vocal expressing their criticism at Israel’s actions. Instead, international extra-parliamentary protest movements have jumped into the breech and are doing to Israel what Israel is doing to Palestine on a different level — making an attempt at deconstruction through the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. That movement which is a catch all and has a membership that ranges from rabid anti-semites who want nothing more than to dissolve the Jewish State, to Jewish and Israeli human rights activists who only want Israel to stop the occupation, is steadily gaining support just as a State of Palestine is fading away into the distance.
Israeli efforts to curb the BDS movement are unlikely to be successful as long as the Jewish state will continue to grind away at Palestine and maintain the occupation. The movement will gain strength and legitimacy, no matter how objectionable some of its members are. The public fallout and economic impact on Israel will become more extensive the more Palestinian statehood is put into question.
Israel and Palestine are connected not only geographically. Deconstructing one of them may well lead to the eventual deconstruction of the other. Better to put all the efforts into forging an agreement than working hard at delaying one with potentially disastrous consequences for both national movements.