It is not easy for pragmatic America to accept that some problems don’t have solutions. One of them is Israel-Palestinian negotiations over a two-state solution, under current Palestinian leadership.
You see, it takes two to tango. Israel, under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has announced for four years that it is ready to enter negotiations with the Palestinian Authority over a two-state solution. The Palestinians have not come to the table. Many leaders in the US and around the world — including President Obama — have blamed Netanyahu. He’s too right wing. He’s not serious. He’s bluffing.
OK. Now we have a test case. Netanyahu lost much power in the recent election. Israel’s “center left” gained much power. It could be part of any government coalition. It’s a new Israel. On this logic, the Palestinians should now come to the negotiating table. If the problem has been Israel, the election changed that.
But what if the Palestinians still don’t enter serious negotiations? It would mean that the problem has not been with Israel. The problem has been the age old resistance of the Palestinian population to legitimate a permanent, political independence of the Jewish people anywhere in the Land of Israel.
After all, the Palestinians couldn’t find a way to make peace with the Israel under previous Israeli prime ministers: the leftist Yitzhak Rabin, the leftist Shimon Peres, the rightest Benjamin Netanyahu (in his first tenure), the leftist Ehud Barak (at Camp David), the rightest Ariel Sharon, or the centrist Ehud Olmert (in 2008). What’s new now? If there is to be anything new, it will have to come from a change in Palestinian mentality, not a change in Israel’s leadership.
Copyright © 2013 by the Intermountain Jewish News