If you want to know the real obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace, take a look at what Israel’s “peace partner” is doing in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus. Taysir Nasrallah, a senior member of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party who is currently director-general of the Nablus governor’s office, gave Haaretzreporter Avi Issacharoff a tour of Balata’s seven-year-old community center this week. And while the term “community center” evokes images of peaceful, wholesome activity, what’s actually going on there, by Nasrallah’s own proud account, is anything but:
“We give the kids courses on the right of return and teach them that the Israelis stole their lands. We’ve sent hundreds of camp children into Israel to see the villages and towns that were taken from us. We took them to Jaffa, Ramle.
“Our message is that without a doubt they will return to the places from which they were driven out,” he says.
Jaffa and Ramle aren’t West Bank settlements; they are towns in pre-1967 Israel. And these are the locales Israel’s “peace partner” is teaching Palestinian children to consider their own. Indeed, Issacharoff reported, Nasrallah’s “dream is to have the [community] center move to Jaffa when the day comes”; hence its name: the Jaffa Center. Moreover, children are regularly assigned presentations involving a map of Israel, but “for them it has always been and remains the map of Palestine.”
Then there’s the fact the children are being taught “Israelis stole their lands” – in other words, that Jews have no right to a state in any portion of what is today Israel; they are thieves who must be stripped of their ill-gotten gains. That’s hardly a message conducive to peaceful coexistence.
Nor is the effort to indoctrinate them into demanding a “right of return” – a euphemism for flooding pre-1967 Israel with 4.8 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants who, together with Israel’s 1.6 million Arab citizens, would outnumber its 5.8 million Jews and turn the Jewish state into a second Palestinian one (the first being the judenrein Palestinian state slated for the West Bank and Gaza).
And remember, this isn’t Hamas conducting these indoctrination sessions: It’s Israel’s “peace partner,” the “moderate” Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. Moreover, the PA is targeting precisely those youths it sees as future leaders. Just this week, Issacharoff reported, 35 children completed a leadership course at the center.
It ought to be obvious peace will never be possible as long as even Palestinian “moderates” insist Jews have no right to statehood in any part of this land, that Palestinians should seek to obtain pre-1967 Israel as well as the West Bank and Gaza, and that pre-1967 Israel should become another Arab-majority state instead of a Jewish one. Indeed, this is obvious to most Israelis; that’s why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu keeps reiterating that Palestinian recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is the key to peace.
Unfortunately, most Westerners still don’t seem to get it, and that’s precisely why all their efforts to broker a deal keep failing. To solve any problem, you first have to acknowledge its existence.