The Problem with Lapid's Weak Conditions for Establishing a Palestinian State

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser - At the UN General Assembly in September, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid expressed the dream of reaching an arrangement with the Palestinians that would rid Israel of the reality of the "occupation," while at the same time achieving security for Israel. His remarks show that he understands how far we are from a solution. However, Lapid's formulations regarding the conditions for establishing a two-state solution for two peoples indicate too little familiarity with past discussions of the issue. Israeli prime ministers and U.S. presidents have made it clear to the Palestinians that the realization of the idea of a Palestinian state depends on their willingness to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Only such recognition can lead, after time, to the abandonment of terrorism and acceptance of the reality of two states for two peoples, one of which is the Jewish people. President Trump raised a series of additional conditions including the cessation of incitement and hate indoctrination, the cessation of the payment of salaries to terrorists, giving up the attempt to sue Israel in the International Criminal Court, and Palestinian willingness to accept Israeli security supremacy that would allow Israel to deal with those involved in terrorism against it in the territories of the Palestinian state. As long as the Palestinians are committed to the narrative adhered to by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in his UN remarks, the chances of a renewal of terrorism will be high. This narrative argues that the Palestinians have a vested right to the entire territory of historic Palestine, that there is no Jewish people and the Jews have no sovereign history in the Land of Israel/Palestine, and that Israel was established by colonialism and imperialism that wanted to rid themselves of the presence of the intolerable Jews in their countries and exploit them as a bridgehead in the struggle against Islam. Therefore, the Palestinians have the right and duty to fight for the realization of their goals, chief among them the victory over Zionism. The idea that Israel needs to "strengthen the PA" reflects an exaggerated fear of its collapse. The PA is not in danger of collapse. It continues to function as a mechanism that manages the lives of Palestinians and employs some 160,000 officials. It also continues to be perceived, despite the criticism of its senior figures, as the Palestinians' main national achievement. A focus on strengthening the PA ignores the fact that it does not fight terrorism but encourages it, perpetuates the Palestinian narrative through incitement, and works to promote this in the international arena as well. Israel must continue to intensify its efforts to thwart terrorism as part of Operation "Break the Wave" and through increased military deployment in Jerusalem and at recognized friction points. The idea that refraining from action will stop the cycle of terrorism ignores the fact that the motivation for carrying out attacks is not due to the activities of the IDF and the Israel Security Agency on the ground, but is rooted in much deeper motives derived from the Palestinian narrative described above. The writer, director of the project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center, was formerly head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence.

2022-10-11 00:00:00

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