Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Things You Can't See From DC: Palestinians Will Never Be Satisfied
-General Giora Eiland
US President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry are expected to visit the region together in late March to try and promote an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. It is amazing to see how American policy has not changed in 20 years. Each administration creates expectations regarding a solution to the conflict without reassessing it and asking the basic question: Why have the peace efforts failed so far?
According to the American assumption, the Palestinians want to free themselves of the "occupation" and establish a small independent state in the West Bank and Gaza. But this is not true. The Palestinians were never willing to make do with a small state of their own. They want "justice," revenge, recognition as victims and above all - the "right of return."
The Palestinians do not really want a small and divided state, and therefore are not willing to pay the price for it: a commitment to declare an end to the conflict, promising not to make any other demands in the future, and recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.
So what should be done? The Americans must take a few steps back and reexamine their basic assumptions. Should the Americans insist on the old paradigm, Israel must continue to play the game: Agree to return to the negotiation table without preconditions and recognize that the peace process is a positive thing. Will the process bring peace? Probably not, but that is not the most important thing. The most important thing is that we will not be blamed for its failure.
The writer is former head of Israel's National Security Council.