Thanks to the invaluable work of MEMRI, we can watch Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas declare, in an October 23 interview with Egyptian television, a clarifying statement: “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again,” Abbas said. “I will never recognize the Jewishness of the state, or a ‘Jewish state.’”
We’re repeatedly told that the issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are enormously complicated, solvable only by diplomats of unusual skill and ability, and that Israel, always Israel, must take a “chance for peace.” But in its most important respects this conflict, at its core, is quite simple: the Palestinians have yet to make their own inner peace with the existence of a Jewish state. Every failed effort at peace, beginning before Oslo and to this very day, can be traced back to this fundamental truth. Because it is an unpleasant one, many people in the West have simply refused to accept it. It is too unsettling to their premises and presuppositions. And so they proceed in self-deception, demanding that Israel make concessions with a “peace partner” that is, in fact, an implacable and lethal enemy.
Tactically “we may win or lose,” Faisal Husseini, a supposedly moderate figure in Yasir Arafat’s Palestinian Authority, said a decade ago. “But our yes will continue to aspire to the strategic goal, namely, to Palestine from the [Jordan] rive to the [Mediterranean] sea.”
“Whatever we get now,” he added, “cannot make us forget this supreme truth.”
That remains, now as ever, the “supreme truth” guiding the Palestinian leadership. As long as it does–as long as the malignant and murderous pathologies that afflict the Palestinian and Arab world remain–it is folly to pretend real peace is possible. Illusions, even soothing illusions, are never a substitute for reality. We have seen time and time again that basing diplomatic hopes on false assumptions is not a road to peace; it is, rather, the surest road to failure, to tragedy, and to war. I understand that this is an unpopular thing to say; but that doesn’t make it any less true or any less obvious.