The EU accused Israel yesterday of endangering the two-state solution, inter alia via such crimes as failing to allow more Palestinian construction in parts of the West Bank under full Israeli control. How this threatens a two-state solution is never explained, for the simple reason that it obviously doesn’t: Israel’s refusal to authorize certain Palestinian construction now in no way prevents a Palestinian government from authorizing it later if that land becomes Palestinian under a peace deal.
But focusing on such non-problems allows the EU to ignore the real threat to the two-state solution: the ongoing Palestinian refusal to talk to Israel – not only among the official leadership, but among civil society as well.
Last week, for instance, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in the West Bank announced that any journalist who dared meet with an Israeli colleague would be expelled from the union, and perhaps even from his job, for the crime of “normalization” with Israel. Because many Israeli journalists (unlike the Israeli mainstream) vocally support the Palestinian Authority’s stated preconditions for resuming negotiations – a complete settlement freeze and an upfront Israeli agreement to a final border based on the 1967 lines – one would think Palestinians would want to encourage them. Instead, the journalists’ union has just declared that even Israelis who fully support Palestinian demands will be treated as bitter enemies. And then the “international community” wonders why mainstream Israelis fear that ceding the West Bank would result in yet another enemy state rather than a friendly, peaceful neighbor.
Nor is the union’s decision an aberration: Such boycotts are official PA policy, and are consistently aimed precisely at the most pro-Palestinian Israelis, such as authors and peace activists. In short, from the Palestinian perspective, there’s no such thing as a good Israeli; all Israelis are enemies.
Given this, is it really surprising that two-thirds of Jewish Israelis believe most Palestinians “have not accepted Israel’s existence and would destroy it if they could,” and are thus reluctant to make territorial concessions that could enable them to do so?
In the EU’s fantasy land, all the Palestinians want is a Palestinian state in the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital. But as Cameron Brown of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies noted last week, three simple statements by Palestinian leaders would suffice to persuade an overwhelming majority of Israelis to agree to this: that the Palestinians renounce all claim to pre-1967 Israel, that they are willing to share custody of Jerusalem’s holy sites, and that refugees will be resettled in the Palestinian state rather than Israel. That would tell Israelis that the Palestinians’ goal really is a state alongside Israel rather than Israel’s destruction.
But Palestinian leaders have never said this, and they never will. Because the unpleasant truth, as polls consistently show, is that most Palestinians still do seek Israel’s destruction.