In any negotiation between two parties there are generally three possible outcomes:
- One party wins more
- Both parties win
- Both parties lose
The prerequisite for negotiation is that both parties are prepared to trade elements with the other in order to achieve their own objective.
In the case of Israel and the Palestinians, Israel’s objective is to be recognised as a Jewish state, and to live in peace within secure borders with their Palestinian neighbours. Yes, there are variations on this theme, but that is the general view of the Israeli people and their representative government.
The issue however is the objective of the Palestinian representative authorities- the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Their objective- again with variations on the theme- is clear. To the PA and Hamas, a “win” is not for the Palestinian people to gain, it is for Israel to lose. The proof of this aim can be seen in three main ways;
- The rejection of the three contemporary offers for a negotiated peace various Israeli governments have put forward. None of these offers have resulted in further negotiation, rather in rejection, expressed violently (as in the case of the Second Intifada), or otherwise.
- The rejection of any Jewish presence at all in the future Palestinian state envisaged by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, or in the existing Hamas-controlled Palestinian state in Gaza. This fact is important, as the elimination of Jewish presence in Palestinian-controlled areas reflects the way that the Palestinians are, or rather are not, being prepared for coexistence with Jewish neighbours in any future state. Further, President Abbas openly denies the historically incontrovertible- Judaism’s 3000 year connection with and inhabitation of the land.
- The rejection of President Abbas to offers to meet, or even talk with with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, to discuss the issues preventing a peace agreement.
So, given this, the question needs to be asked of those advocating the cultural (and financial and educational) boycott of Israel; what do you hope to achieve? What does the pressure placed on the young New Zealand singer Lorde for instance, who’s been battered into BDS-submission do for the Palestinians? The answer is: nothing. There is no negotiation possible until the Palestinians are represented by responsible leadership; leadership who value Palestinian statehood over Israeli demise. There is no negotiation that their nihilistic fellow travellers in the West, the bullies of the BDS, envisage that results in peace between Israel and a nascent Palestinian state. Lorde, unbeknownst to her, has been used as a tool of continued rejection of a negotiated peace between the Palestinians and the only secular democracy in the Middle East.
I hope that 2018 brings with it new, responsible Palestinian leadership, who are prepared to negotiate in good faith, prepare the Palestinian people for peaceful coexistence with their Jewish neighbours, and a silencing of the voices of bullying rejection of the BDS movement in the West. In retracting her announcement that she would be playing in Tel Aviv, Lorde tweeted “I hope one day we can all dance”. I hope so too.