ALON BEN-MEIR of NYU beleives Israel needs a Palestinian state and that without direct talks, the Palestinians will declare statehood unilaterally.
[..] Against this backdrop, the right-of-center government appears to be committed to disfranchise Palestinians, suppress opposition, undermine democratic values and forsake the moral tenants on which the state was created.
IN THIS regard, the introduction of two abominable measures in the Knesset speak volumes about how far this government will go to advance the right-wing “Greater Israel” agenda, however perilous this prospect may be. The first bill requires every individual seeking Israeli citizenship to declare his loyalty to a “Jewish democratic state,” specifically designed to discriminate against Palestinian citizens.
The second bill would punish anyone calling for a boycott of any Israeli individual or institution, whether in Israel or in the territories, with a fine of NIS 30,000 plus any proven damages.
So he considers abominable the requirement of a loyalty oath for citizenship and a penalty for calling for a boycott of Israel. One might disagree with such legislation but to call it “abominable” is just way over the top.
In addition to such legislative efforts, the government has continued to demolish Palestinian houses, force eviction, seize land and deliberately disrupt communal life.
Here again he ignores that the homes were built without permits and that people must be evicted before they are demolished. Jewish homes are also being demolished. Allegations of this sort must be supported with evidence.
Indeed, there is no internationally orchestrated campaign to delegitimize Israel as many claim. By its own actions and policies, the country itself is doing a very good job at that. Rather than address Palestinian national aspirations for statehood in the context of a secure and independent Israel, the current government erroneously views maintenance of the occupation and expansion of settlements as synonymous with long-term national security.
To suggest that there is non orchestrated campaign to deligitimate Israel simply shows how far left he is. He believes its all Israel’s fault. Israel does not suppress their claims for statehood they do. Any time they want a state they just have to compromise. But he wants Israel to do the compromising. Why does he assume its their land.
The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, although skeptical about the prospect of an agreement, still opts for a nonviolent strategy having concluded that violence provides justification for Israel to maintain the occupation. However, its inability to make significant progress at the negotiating table has served to further Hamas’s contention that Israel is not interested in peace and that only a militant strategy will force it to change course.
The only reason the PA can’t make significandt progress at the negotiating table is because they won’t negotiate or compromise.
Although Hamas has suspended violence following the conclusion of the Gaza war in January 2009, the Netanyahu government has made no effort to explore a possible rapprochement with a group that it dismisses as an irredeemable terrorist organization that must be eliminated.
How naive. They may not be shooting but they are certainly arming.
WHILE THE two sides remain in a deadlock, Palestinians recognize that the status quo cannot be sustained, and that the international community is on their side. It is with this recognition that Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has begun to build the infrastructure for a future state with the goal of ultimately declaring statehood with or without Israeli cooperation.
In so doing, he and President Mahmoud Abbas have disavowed the use of violence, thereby evoking tremendous international support and pressure on Israel to ease the occupation. In many ways this has created an historic point of departure in Israeli-Palestinian relations by offering the Israelis what they have always wanted – a nonviolent approach to reach a lasting solution. The Palestinians are thus demonstrating that, contrary to Israeli claims, there is indeed a partner ready and able to negotiate an end to the conflict.
That being said, their ability to negotiate is constrained by time, and it is unclear whether the current Israeli government will be willing to offer the minimum they can accept. The Palestinian public, like that in Israel, is disillusioned with failed peacemaking efforts. The leadership in Ramallah cannot afford to enter into negotiations unless they can demonstrate to the people that such talks have a real chance to succeed. Meanwhile, the more time that passes, the more the cases for a nonviolent approach and for continued peacemaking efforts are undermined. As such, it is no wonder that the Palestinian leadership is increasingly looking to the option of a unilateral declaration of statehood, supported by the international community. [..]
The writer is professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.