Its a paradox that Israel is labelled as the opressor despite decades of Palestinian efforts to wipe us out. Israel has been pressured, pushed around and blackmailed to make concessions whereas the Palestinians sit back at the negotiating table since 1948 and make demands, refuse to compromise or make concessions. We have received just one concession from them (that too only from only one of the many Palestinian organisations) – the PLO’s acceptance of Israel’s right to exist. This happened after Arafat led PLO was pushed out from every neighbouring Arab country. In return for this PLO recognition, Israel has handed over 40% of the West Bank to them and the entire Gaza.
Palestinian leaders have come to the table with unrealistic expectations throughout history inspite of losing every war till date. A Palestinian movement still exists because Israel respects international law. Despite being on the losing side, the Palestinian demand since 1967 to control Jerusalem or their so called demand since 1948 for the right to return never ended. They know that no sane Israeli government (right or left) will ever agree to both these conditions any more. Ehud Olmert still gave them a chance in 2008 but they refused. Keeping the resistance going is profitable for Hamas. Their river to the sea slogan is still not outdated in most parts of the world. Its about staying in power for the PLO.
Almost all Jews in Israel want to maintain a Jewish democracy state so a one state democratic solution will always be off the table in the peace process. Their demand from 1948 for the right of return is a non-starter. Since the last century, no Jew has a right to return to the Arab World or Gaza inspite of peace treaties with Arab nations. Israelis have learnt to move on these desires and move on from the horror of the Holocaust so as to thrive and progress. We’ve done that and its about time the Palestinians also stop having the unrealistic 1948 expectation – “From the river to the sea”. All this wishful thinking and their 75 years of denial and unrealistic hope have thus put generations of their children in endless wars and conflict. The Israeli people have moved on since the explusion and the Holocaust and learnt their lessons. Israel is thriving and will continue to try to work for its people, make their lives better and the world a better place through innovation and sustainable development. Despite mandatory army service and decades suffering from terrorist attacks, the Israeli generations have focussed their efforts on progress and growth. But the Palestinian leaderships keep wasting their efforts in countless terrorists attacks and wars and radicalizing their own future generations.
In this war, Hamas has the audacity to demand a ceasefire and complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. It still lives in wishful thinking and not as per the current situation of the war. They weren’t serious about peace when countless offers were made throughout this war and neither during the wars over the past 18 years. Only when they were at a serious tactical disadvantage in this war that they accepted a temporary truce in Nov 2023 in exchange for some hostages. Even now they make demands as if Israel is on the losing side or at a disadvantage. With every single day at war, the IDF is bringing Hamas to its knees but in the negotiation table they’re still behaving like they’re on the winning side and demand heavy concessions from us. That shows that they want to keep fighting to the end. They don’t care for the lives of their leaders and neither about the Palestinian people who have suffered the most from this war.
But for the Palestinians leaders, there is a downside to peace. The same reason that Yemen has for firing missiles at Israel. If not war, they have to fulfil their responsibility towards their people -to care about their people and focus on their development. During peace, people start demanding accountability and development from its leaders. In Gaza, healthcare and education is exclusively the job for UNRWA and global aid organisations so their resources can be diverted to centralizing control and continuing the struggle. After all, nothing brings people together like war.
When Egypt was serious about peace, Israel gave them back the Sinai peninsula. When the PLO was once serious about peace and recognized Israel, around 40% of the West Bank and Gaza was transferred to them. In exchange for peace with Abraham Accords countries, Israel indefinitely postponed its plans to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank.
Peace is an acceptance of reality. Its is about making concessions and understanding both sides and respecting the reality. Peace cannot be enforced – only ceasefire can be. Peace cannot be one sided. The unilateral withdrawal from Gaza only brought more destruction for Gaza and endless wars for Israel along with the 7th Oct massacre. The US and EU push to unilaterally create and recognize a Palestinian statehood is the same faulty effort for one side efforts by forcing Israeli concessions. As Golda Meir (Israel’s former Prime Minister) said “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us”. That also means when they will accept the reality, wish to live in peace next to us and learn to compromise, that Israel too can compromise. Then there will be some peace in the middle east.