The position of many world leaders, and much of the international diplomatic community, to the Israeli-Palestinian problem is that everything can be solved with a Two-State solution based on 1967 borders.
This is lazy and shallow-minded knee-jerk diplomacy. It is devoid of any original or alternative thinking to a policy that has patently failed.
The emphasis is thrown onto Israel to surrender territory in the name of peace and leaves Israel as the guilty party if it refuses to do so and violence ensues.
The notion that a missing peace will break out of only Israel withdraws from land is a fallacy, and a dangerous one at that.
The international diplomatic community turns a blind eye to the fact that Israel has an equal entitlement to, if not more, to the territory than either side of a Palestinian political divide.
In fact, it has become the fallacy that prevents any progress to any solution. It is a fallacy based on a false premise, the premise that all the Palestinians want is a state of their own and that it is Israel that is blocking their desire to live peaceful lives in their own state alongside Israel. This premise is not a template to peace because it ignores an underlying fault line that, despite talk of a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, to anyone steeped in realpolitik and not the fantasyland of wishful thinking, these two sides will never come together to live in peace alongside the Jewish State.
It really is as simple as that. This is the undeniable truth of why progress is impossible.
Israel accepted the notion of two states for two peoples. The Palestinians have not, and never will.
Israeli policy is one of attempting to ease and improve the lives of Arabs living under the control of their Palestinian leadership, both in Ramallah and in Gaza. This was confirmed by former member of the Israeli Cabinet, Moshe Yaalon, who, to an English-speaking audience in Netanya on September 25 said that, although he saw no possibility of a diplomatic breakthrough with the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and in Gaza, he fully supported improving the lives and living conditions of the Arabs living under Palestinian control. This has been confirmed by Israel’s Prime Minister.
Israel coordinates daily with the Palestinian Authority both in civil and security matters. Israel has ceded full civil and security control to the PA in what is called Areas A and B of the signed Oslo Accords. It allows Palestinian forces to be trained and armed in these territories. Between eight hundred and a thousand trucks flow daily from Israel into the Gaza Strip defying allegations that it is conducting a blockade.
The Palestinians, on the other hand, are waging a war of delegitimization and annihilation against the Jewish State. By doing so, they set back any chance of genuine statehood by their rejection of Israel as the Jewish State.
Mounting massive and successful anti-Israel and anti-Semitic campaigns in international forums, including their slanders that Jews have no history or heritage on places like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem or the Tombs of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron, is further evidence of their primeval anti-Jewish hatred. And yet the secular West insist on emboldening this hate into statehood, hoping that such a move will reform the intolerant haters. What folly!
The Palestinian leadership, on both sides of their political chasm, claim statehood where no statehood exists, even in defiance of the international definition of statehood. They demand that the Israeli capital of Jerusalem must be their capital, even though their two administrative and political centers are based in Ramallah and Gaza City. It is shocking that the diplomatic community supports all these false claims.
The international community ignores the misuse of their funding to the Palestinian Authority even after evidence is produced that over three hundred million dollars is allocated to murdering terrorists and their families. Not only Hamas. The Palestinian Authority is a terror-ridden organization. Palestine Media Watch, in its report dated September 27, revealed that the Palestinian Authority now has seventy-five schools named after terrorists or Nazi collaborators. One of the schools was funded by the Belgian Government.
Both sides of the Palestinian political divide constantly make inflammatory anti-Semitic remarks when referring to Israel. Mahmoud Abbas has a long history of hitting at Jews as he assaults Israel. While addressing the European Parliament on June 24, 2016, he falsely accused rabbis of demanding the Israeli government to poison Palestinian water. Prior to that, in another blatantly offensive anti-Semitic remark he said that “we will not allow Jews with their filthy feet” from defiling the Temple Mount.
Deep Palestinian anti-Semitism can be found in the infamous Hamas Charter which blatantly quotes, “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me. Come out and kill him.”
This then is the asymmetry that prevents any possible solution to the impasse between Israel and the Palestinians.
It is not about borders or territory. It is about this deep schism that has prevented progress for decades and will not allow any progress going forward.
Until the international community realizes that there is this deep ideological asymmetry between the two sides, do not expect a solution any day soon.
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the author of this year’s best-seller, ‘1917. From Palestine to the Land of Israel.’