The Inconvenient Truth

Most of the world accepts that the problem between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would be best solved by a two-state solution forged through dialogue. But that hasn’t happened yet, and, by all accounts, it’s nowhere close to happening.

Why is that?

If we’re dealing with two parties that both passionately want a solution, shouldn’t there be more effort to, i don’t know, solve? Yes, there should be. That’s where we’ll start.

It’s basic math, if party “A” wants a peaceful solution, and party “B” also wants a peaceful solution, and they can only create a peaceful solution by talking, then they should talk. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure that out, yet clearly talks aren’t going on. So the question is: “which party isn’t as inclined to talk?” The answer to that question is found in the circumstances from which the most recent round of peace talks arose. When John Kerry expressed desire to start a new round of talks, how did Israel respond? And how did the PA respond?

Israel responded with total willingness to talk. Meanwhile, Abbas demanded that before it would even start the process of negotiating, Israel would need to release dozens of terrorists, and continue to do so at various intervals throughout the process in order to maintain the privilege of negotiation. Israel answered that call and started releasing the terrorists, simply for the right to work for peace.

In other words, this conflict is between a group willing to give up terrorists for peace and a group not willing to consider peace until it recovers its terrorists. That’s not a formula for success.

Jump forward to last week, when Abbas tried to pass legislation through the UN demanding that Israel withdraw from the west bank. He knew his resolution would fail, and the world knew it would fail. It’s understandable why he did what he did, and why he will now try to bring Israel to trial for war crimes: because he wants to put Israel under pressure. That’s his goal. Nobody knows Abbas’s end-game, but for now peaceful negotiations aren’t on his agenda.

For any progress to be made, this needs to be between two governments that are both itching for peace, and both willing to work, concede, and sweat for a solution, but that’s not the reality. The reality is that the PA isn’t invested in peace, and that Israel can’t do anything about it. Elections can be held and debates can be had, but a change in the PA needs to come from within, and that’s the inconvenient truth.

About the Author
Jacob Gordon is the brother of an IDF officer and a high school student. He writes for his school's foreign affairs publication and is the president of both its Political Action and Controversial Ideas clubs.