Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Palestinian Agenda: End Israel, Not Found a State

Understanding the real goal explains the missed opportunities.

David Solway
25 December '10

What do the Palestinians want? The boilerplate answer is that they want their own state, and as far as this goes, it is certainly true. But the issue is far more complex than such a simple rejoinder would suggest.

The Palestinians could have had their nation as early as 1937, when the Peel Commission recommended partition — a chunk of real estate several times the size of the proposed territory of Israel. But since then, they have squandered every opportunity to acquire and consolidate a legitimate and viable political state. Few observers seem to ask themselves why this should be the case — a question so obvious as to call into doubt either the intelligence or the good faith of those who refuse to consider it. Predictably, this central question is cavalierly brushed aside by those who blame Israel, in the face of well-documented facts, for the stalled negotiations and failure of the soi-disant “peace process.”

Despite plausible misgivings, the Jewish Agency accepted the Peel plan. The Arab delegation rejected it, and such rejection has been standard practice for the Palestinian Arabs and their tribal backers — from the Woodhead Report of 1938 and the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947 (Resolution 181) right up to the present moment. Yasser Arafat turned down Ehud Barak’s overly generous offer at Camp David and Taba. Mahmoud Abbas walked away from Ehud Olmert’s equally magnanimous concessions and continues, to this day, to insist on the usual deal-breakers: non-recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and — the indisputable clincher — the “right of return” of millions of UN-manufactured refugees. In a factually distorted, historically miscontextualized op-ed written for the Guardian on December 10, 2010, Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator of the Palestinian Authority (PA), made no bones about the issue, demanding the return of seven million people, and, with them, the creation of an overnight Palestinian majority in Israel.

(Read full "The Palestinian Agenda: End Israel, Not Found a State")

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