How does Israel negotiate with people who don’t believe it has the right to exist?
It has been said doing the same thing repeatedly yet expecting different results is one definition of insanity.
One can make a case this applies to the Arab-Israeli conflict. For example, many look to a two state solution as the best way to resolve the conflict. Yet is this a new concept? The answer is no, it’s already been tried.
It happened in 1947 with UN resolution 181 which partitioned two states for two peoples. In spite of being approved by a 72% majority the implementation on the ground was a dismal failure. Why? The Arab nations refused to accept the UN vote, and attacked Israel one day after declaring independence.
Since this attempt at Israel’s destruction there have been numerous wars, two intifada’s, thousands of Israeli victims of terror attacks, and a host of Arab organizations birthed, all with a singular goal- the destruction of Israel.
Yet the ‘left’ would have us believe two states for two peoples [TSS] is the only answer which can bring a lasting peace to the decades old conflict. However, there is a major problem. Sixty-five years after rejecting a TSS, the Arabs have yet to change their mind. They still refuse to accept it. It’s not that they don’t want their own state. They certainly do. However, if accepting the existence of Israel as a Jewish state is a requirement in order for them to have their own, they prefer to remain stateless. Apparently the left is ignoring this, or simply doesn’t believe it.
Arab/Palestinian Polls Reject Two-State Solution
Yet Arab public opinion confirms this. A 2012 poll jointly conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion and American Pollster Stanley Greenberg contained the following results:
- 61% of Arabs/Palestinians do not accept two states for two peoples
- 66% would accept two states only as a first step toward one Arab/Palestinian state
- 92% said Jerusalem must be the capital of Palestine only
Other polls have produced similar findings.
These views reflect a belief that all the land Israel sits upon belongs to the Muslims. Why? They controlled it several hundred years ago, therefore it belongs to them forever. The Jews are seen as “occupiers.”
However, there is a fundamental flaw with this presumption. If you look back in history, is it fair to stop several hundred years ago, simply because it suits their agenda? If we are going to use ‘historical connection’ to make a case, why can’t the Jews point to theirs which predates the Muslims by well over 2000 years? In spite of irrefutable historical and archeological evidence confirming Jewish presence, the aforementioned poll also showed 72% of Arab/Palestinians reject any Jewish connection to the land or Jerusalem.
This is a case of refusing to allow the facts to alter their agenda.
Yet in spite of Arab rejection of a TSS PM Netanyahu has repeatedly said he’s willing to accept it. Why would he say this? Does he actually support it? Is he acquiescing to the left? Is he saying it because there is so much worldwide support for it? Actually it’s politics at the highest level.
I believe Netanyahu is astute enough to realize if he speaks against it he will be criticized and viewed as not wanting peace. Thus, in order to placate his critics he publically supports a TSS. Yet in his heart I think he realizes it will not happen. Why? It won’t happen because he’s convinced no Arab leader is going to sign an agreement legitimizing Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state, with Jerusalem as its capital. Said leader would have fear of being killed by one of his own for accepting Jewish sovereignty on land the Muslims consider theirs.
By publically proclaiming support for a TSS Netanyahu accomplishes something important. He continues to be viewed as flexible by world leaders. Plus, it takes the spotlight off him and places the burden of acquiescence on the Arabs. He also knows previous Israeli PM’s have made generous offers which were refused. Lest we forget the offer made to Yasser Arafat by PM Barak? It included giving up close to 100% of Judea and Samaria, and the division of Jerusalem. Yet Arafat rejected it because a sovereign state of Israel was part of the deal.
Then President Clinton was highly disappointed in Arafat and blamed him for the breakdown of negotiations. The refusal to accept Israel by the Arabs is not lost on Netanyahu. Yet the left keeps pressuring Israel to unilaterally give up land. This will not produce peace.
It’s the Arab’s rejection of Israel’s right to exist which is the obstacle. A question for the left is how do you make compromises or negotiate with people who don’t believe you should exist?
Until such time as they can provide an answer, it’s one reason why the left isn’t right.
Dan Calic is a writer, historian and speaker. See additional articles on his Facebook page
*Original Post on Ynet News