For Peace, the Palestinians Must Change Their Narrative

(BICOM) Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser interviewed by Sam Nurding - As long as the narrative of the Palestinians espouses a commitment to all of Palestine, it is clear they continue to refuse to accept Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. The Palestinian narrative says there is no such thing as a Jewish people, and because of this, Palestinians argue that Jews should not be allowed a state of their own. "Incitement" is the broad effort to incubate in the hearts and in the minds of Palestinians the following elements of the Palestinian narrative: That there is no Jewish people, that Jews don't have any sovereign connection to the Land of Israel, that Jews are a problematic people that should be demonized, that Israel is an apartheid state, that the struggle against Zionism should continue until the end of Zionism, and that any kind of activity to these ends is justified, including terrorism. This narrative justifies the Palestinians paying salaries to terrorists and considering terrorists to be heroes. In the Palestinian narrative, the Jews cannot be victims and cannot complain about being attacked because they insist on living here. Q: Is the status quo sustainable? Kuperwasser: Israel can manage the situation for a long time. The stupidest thing for us would be to insist on moving away from an unpleasant status quo to another status quo that is even worse. There is not much sense to all the ideas of unilateral moves that would give something to the Palestinians and enable them to carry out attacks from a better striking position. As long as nobody offers a preferable alternative, the situation is sustainable, and we will sustain it. The reason the Palestinians have not changed their narrative - and the reason why there is no progress for peace - is because the Palestinians have never felt that there is an international expectation or pressure for them to change their narrative. Now there is a golden opportunity to make progress on this front because the new administration in the U.S. is willing to speak a different language to the Palestinians and the U.S. Congress is discussing the Taylor Force Act that calls upon Palestinians to stop paying salaries to terrorists. Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former chief of the research division in IDF Military Intelligence and director general of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs, is director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

2017-08-08 00:00:00

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