The Israel-Palestinian Peace Process Has Been a Massive Charade

So long as Palestinian rejectionism runs rampant, debates about one-, two-, and three-state solutions are for naught.

By Daniel Pipes, MOSAIC

Palestinians burning placards bearing the Israeli flag in 2016 in Gaza. MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images.

Daniel Polisar of Shalem College in Jerusalem shook the debate over Palestinian-Israeli relations in November 2015 with his essay, “What Do Palestinians Want?” In it, having studied 330 polls to “understand the perspective of everyday Palestinians” toward Israel, Israelis, Jews, and the utility of violence against them, he found that Palestinian attackers are “venerated” by their society—with all that that implies.

He’s done it again with “Do Palestinians Want a Two-State Solution?” This time, he pored over some 400 opinion polls of Palestinian views to find consistency among seemingly contradictory evidence on the topic of ways to resolve the conflict with Israel. From this confusing bulk, Polisar convincingly establishes that Palestinians collectively hold three related views of Israel: it has no historical or moral claim to exist, it is inherently rapacious and expansionist, and it is doomed to extinction. In combination, these attitudes explain and justify the widespread Palestinian demand for a state from “the river to the sea,” the grand Palestine of their maps that erases Israel.

With this analysis, Polisar has elegantly dissected the phenomenon that I call Palestinian rejectionism. That’s the policy first implemented by the monstrous mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, in 1921 and consistently followed over the next near-century. Rejectionism demands that Palestinians (and beyond them, Arabs and Muslims) repudiate every aspect of Zionism: deny Jewish ties to the land of Israel, fight Jewish ownership of that land, refuse to recognize Jewish political power, refuse to trade with Zionists, murder Zionists where possible, and ally with any foreign power, including Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, to eradicate Zionism.

The continuities are striking. All major Palestinian leaders—Amin al-Husseini, Ahmad al-Shukeiri, Yasir Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and Yahya Sinwar (the new leader of Hamas in Gaza)—have made eliminating the Zionist presence their only goal. Yes, for tactical reasons, they occasionally compromised, most notably in the Oslo Accords of 1993, but then they reversed these exceptions as soon as possible.

In other words, the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” that began in 1989 has been a massive charade. As Israelis earnestly debated making “painful concessions,” their Palestinian counterparts issued promises they had had no intention of fulfilling, something Arafat had the gall publicly to signal to his constituency even as he signed the Oslo Accords, and many times subsequently.

So long as rejectionism runs rampant, debates about one-, two-, and three-state solutions, about carving up the Temple Mount into dual sovereign areas, or about electricity grids and water supplies, are for naught. There can be no resolution so long as most Palestinians dream of obliterating the Jewish state. Indeed, this makes negotiations counterproductive. The Oslo Accords and other signed pieces of paper have made matters much worse. The farce of negotiations, therefore, needs urgently to end.

If no more negotiations, then what? Polisar rightly recommends tackling the problem head-on with “policies that seek to reduce decisively popular Palestinian support for a maximalist state.” This shift accords with what I call an Israeli strategy for victory: breaking the Palestinians’ will to fight by convincing them that Jews have historic ties to the land, that Israel has a determined citizenry, a powerful economy and military, and mighty allies, even as it respects its neighbors and will be around into the distant future. Therefore, the dream of a grand Palestine is the purest fantasy.

In other words: Palestinians, the game is up. Accept the Jewish state, bargain with it, and benefit from its dynamism.

Here, happily, things are not entirely bleak. My research finds, and Polisar’s confirms, that about 20 percent of Palestinians are ready to live peaceably with the Jewish state. The challenge is to increase this number to 60 percent and more, so that this group at last can wrest control of the Palestinian national movement from rejectionists.

This process will be neither easy nor pleasant, for there is no avoiding the bitter crucible of defeat. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas will violently repress readiness to accommodate Israel, making the transition all the more painful. They will not, however, manage to reverse their populations’ demoralization and restiveness, or stop the movement favoring an end to hostilities. As the reality of defeat sinks in, new voices will inexorably be heard and will strengthen, calling for an end to the century-long catastrophe of rejectionism.

When Palestinians emerge from this ordeal, they will greatly benefit from throwing off the burden of anti-Zionism. Finally, they can begin to build their own polity, economy, society, and culture. Finally, they can learn from their remarkable neighbor. All will gain when this proud people turns its attention to creating the institutions of civil society and to teaching children skills rather than hatred.

International, and especially American, support will much enhance the Israeli strategy for victory and the transition to a better future for Palestinians. May the Trump administration end the failed cycle of negotiations and instead help its “cherished ally” win its war.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Daniel Pipes.

April 10, 2017 | Comments »

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  1. @ Ted Belman:

    O.K. Ted, Thanks as I know you’re really busy all the time and I am embarrassed that I put you to such trouble, when nobody else seems to. It’s just that after a while, I bridle and bristle when my word is seemingly mistrusted, even by a machine. A bad habit but one I’ve always had.

    Until now, it’s always taken at least 7-15 seconds for your site to respond; even when already in, and keying, “read on” or “comments” etc.

    You are surely being attacked by hackers or worse. Right now at the top of this page in the address box, it says “not secure”…An hour later it may say, “secure”. I’ve never seen this designation for any other site I enter, so you must be very unpopular somewhere, showing that you are hurting them. And we all know who “them ” are.

  2. @ Edgar G.:
    I was away from my computer for two days so couldn’t deal with comments in moderation . Sorry.

    Also I have hired people to redesign Israpundit to make it quicker and more efficient. Hopefully we son’t have the moderation problem afterwards.

  3. xx

    RIGHT NOW.. I have 2 TWO posts ON THIS PAGE ALONE awaiting the “moderation” machine of genius. I strongly object to this constant offense. For about a week, a couple of months back it was removed, but quickly reverted to it’s normal work. I OBJECT to this. If not removed, I shall stop posting, as I did before several years ago, only returning last year.

    Moderation #1 has been in place since yesterday.

  4. @ M. A. Cohen:

    My dear late aunt worked in a famous London department store many years ago, and used to write letters to me telling of the Arab multi-millionaires stalking around the premises followed by their entourages of wives and slaves. That they were richly dressed and spent millions at a time, but were no better than savages…that they used to crap and relieve themselves anywhere that suited them, on the floor, or in corners etc. She said they were from Saudi Arabia mostly.

    The most important point about them of course, was that they spent millions…

  5. I knew about Arabs from age of reason. Why don’t you folks aquire a copy
    of the Koran translated literally and you will learn who these savages are.
    Poor Europeans: they let-in hordes of criminals and expect different
    results! Crazy: they are filthy, they don’t even know how to use a flushed
    toilet, the will rob you blind, they let them into Europe and at the first
    occasion,they steal a truck and kill innocent people going shopping
    or for a walk without a blink of an eye. They consider non-Moslems
    to be worthless. As for the invented Palis, they want all of Israel.
    We waited 2000 years to return to our cradle. What a farce!

  6. If only a JEWISH, ISRAELI leader was around not one doing the serpent crawl, but one man or woman tough enough to say ‘enough is enough.’ u. s, e. u, u. k, etc you want 2 states then bless you, let it be in your back yard. we are currently in violation of international law and will now correct that by fully imposing the mandate, + u n charter article 80. J-S will be cleansed of arab/s who entered illegally 47-67, arabs who entered illegally during the mandate period will be shipped home to blighty. u. n remove all your employees except 1 low level sect. embassies and ambassadors outside of JERUSALEM will be treated as consulates. Why this is almost like a wet dream, knowing the opposite will happen, ‘i’m ISRAELS p.m. dig a hole for me to crawl lower PLEASE.

  7. Such arrant nonsense filled with platitudinous gsrbage culled from a thousand “studies”… We, the People, with NO academic strings of degrees attached to our names, have known this for hundreds of years, and PARTICULARLY since the early 1920s, proven time and time again, over and over, that the Arabs hate the Jews enough to slaughter them whenever they can find the slightest opportunity. And if they have the time, in the most gruesome ways.

    The learned professor, and you Mr. Pipes, could have instead substituted studies on the hundreds of almost gratis opportunities, available, indeed, served up to the Arab barbarians over and over, and their seeming acceptance in words but their positive rejection in action.

    Your people seem to be in love with the alliterative sound of the Term “Peace Process” although there has never for a moment been any peace, and there also has never been any process. When said by an Arab is has just a continuous “hissing” sound, like snake language, which indeed it is.

    The Jewish Criminals who brought the Assassin-in-Chief back from over 3000 kilometres away, safely barred from our country, and handed them a large part of our precious dimished Homeland, then trained and weaponised them, should have been tried, convicted and served a full lifetime in prison with NO parole-never. Beilin, Peres and Rabin, and a few more from happy-land.

    We KNEW, and always knew that we could not make any realistic peace with the Arabs, and that in the fantastic possibility that we could, it would mean giving them a permanent sovereign foothold in our Land, and we would NEVER again be able to draw a free, happy breath.

    What is so wonderful about finding 20% of the Arab squatters who would accept peace with us. Next year, or next week, these perfect neighbours would go to a mosque, wake up next morning, and calmly make a video telling their families that they are going to claim their 72 virgins, and sedately go out looking for Jews to murder. NOBODY SANE CAN TRUST THE WORD OF AN ARAB… I mean about 99% of them.

    And Why we Jews cannot get this glaring, blaring, FACT into our heads is to me one of the Mysteries of The Ages. As for the American Jews, there qare no words to describe them. They need 2 years in Israel to vaguely understand what happens there, by repetition, repetition, repetition….

    And now in 2017, we have a glib writer telling us yet again, that it’s been discovered just 2 years ago that it’s all been a “Chararde”…..

    Yah don’t say……… WHO WAS IT…???….. He didn’t say…!!

  8. :

    The Arabs don’t like Israel; they aren’t too fond of Jewish Israelis, either. Arabs have every right to reject Israel.

    Of course, the Israelis have every right to reject the Arabs.

    A peace process, between the two, can only progress if it respects their mutual right to reject one another.