Peace Is Impossible without a Credible Palestinian Partner

(Foreign Policy) Douglas J. Feith - Israelis continue to crave peace, but the state of Palestinian politics leaves them hopeless. According to recent Dahaf Institute and Smith Consulting polls, more than two-thirds of Israelis support the creation of a non-threatening Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state. If extra security provisions are assumed, support rises to 75%. But many Israelis do not believe "that the Palestinians will uphold the conditions of peace and especially those elements dealing with security." In the Oslo process, Israel gave governmental power to the new Palestinian Authority (PA), including control over the territories in which virtually all the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza live. Terrorism against Israelis, however, intensified with PA support. In 2000, Arafat rejected an extraordinarily forthcoming peace offer from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and launched the Second Intifada, which lasted more than four years and cost more than 1,000 Israeli lives. After Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas, an Islamist terrorist organization affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, won parliamentary elections there and seized executive power, forcibly expelling PA officials. In 2006 and again in 2012, Palestinians provoked wars with Israel by firing rockets from Gaza indiscriminately against Israeli civilians. Palestinian schools, whether run by the PA or Hamas, persist in teaching hatred of Israel and Jews and exhorting children to armed resistance. Rather than move toward compromise to end the conflict with Israel, Palestinian leaders have been competing with each other in vowing eternal resistance and rejection. Peace is not a unilateral choice for Israel. The notion that Israelis can make peace with people committed to killing them is impractical. Hence the widespread despair in Israel about peace. The writer served as U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy from 2001 to 2005.

2013-01-22 00:00:00

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