Hark, the time is upon us! Soon we will all see what lurks within the pages of the so called ‘Deal of the Century’. The opening chapter, it seems, revolves around an economic conference that is to take place in Bahrain. Several Arab parties have confirmed their attendance, with one notable exception: the Palestinians. In typical Palestinian fashion, members of the Palestinian Authority and various terrorist groups have attacked, demonized and rejected this conference. Not only that, but the leadership of the Palestinian people has flatly rejected the whole ‘Deal of the Century’ to begin with. Never mind the fact that the deal itself has yet to be presented, but the mere notion of any sort of cessation of hostilities offends the sensibilities of the politicians residing in Ramallah and Gaza. This is nothing new, however. Indeed, the Palestinians could have achieved statehood years ago if they didn’t reject the various peace proposals that were presented to them. It is high time for the international community to rein in the Palestinians. If they reject yet another peace deal, then it is time for the Palestinians to put forth a workable counter proposal. Their playbook is played out, and their antics are tiresome. Time and again they storm off, refuse to negotiate, and then they return to violence. They then have the audacity to blame Israel for their misfortune. It is time to change this failed pattern.
Picture it, if you will. The year was 2000, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak wrapped up an extravagant gift for the Palestinians. He put together a peace deal that would ensure that nearly every single Palestinian demand was met: A Palestinian state within the majority of the West Bank and the entirety of Gaza, with East Jerusalem serving as the capital of this newly founded state. The Clinton administration was fully behind this incentive, and even the Saudis saw it as an incredible deal. The problem was Yasser Arafat, the former terrorist leader turned intransigent party head of the Palestinian Authority. He had the chance to give his people the state they craved. He had the power to end the endless ‘cycle of violence’. But what did he do with said gift? He threw it away, left the table and called for war. The resulting conflict left thousands dead. Then, as now, the Palestinians did not offer a counter proposal. They didn’t have a plan of their own because they never intended to end the conflict. The only plans Arafat and his ilk had were those that would lead directly to the Second Intifadah. Since that walk out, the Palestinians have also rejected a similarly generous peace deal offered by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. And, once again, they did not offer a counter proposal. And that is what triggered the current stalemate that the region currently finds itself embroiled in.
Enough. Enough is enough. All those that will attend this economic summit must not delude themselves into thinking that the Palestinians will ever walk in with the noblest of intentions. They have made their stance quite clear. They have rejected talking to the Trump administration, they have refused to negotiate with Israel and instead they continue to cry victim while instigating terrorism and paying murders who are imprisoned in Israeli prisons. This is the reality people must face. It is good to see Arab states rallying behind President Trump in this endeavor. The events of the last few years have brought several Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia and Oman, into open contact with Israel. The winds are indeed changing. But the Trump administration and the Arab world must demand concrete action from the Palestinians. Israel has shown time and again a willingness to offer peace deals, even those said deals would have required painful concessions from the Israelis. It is time to demand the Palestinians act like real peace partners. If they reject this deal, they better have a counter proposal. If they refuse to talk, then they only have themselves to blame for their situation. And if they dig their heels deeper into the mess their perpetually create for themselves, then the United States, Israel and the Arab world should take unilateral measures to end this conflict once and for all.
It is time for the Palestinians to either join the party of sit out for rest of night.