The Palestinians Miss Yet Another Opportunity

Via:  buzz-of-the-orient  •  3 months ago  •  7 comments

The Palestinians Miss Yet Another Opportunity
The great Israeli diplomat Abba Eban once presciently observed that the Palestinians "never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

The Palestinians Miss Yet Another Opportunity

by  Alan M. Dershowitz , Gatestone Institute, June 5, 2019


If the Palestinian leadership persists in its refusal to sit down and negotiate, they will only have themselves to blame for the lack of statehood. Pictured: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

The great Israeli diplomat Abba Eban once presciently observed that the Palestinians "never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." Well, they are about to miss yet another opportunity by staying away from the June 2019 meetings in Bahrain during which the United States might unveil the economic aspects of its proposed Middle East peace plan.

The history of the Palestinian leadership is a history of missed opportunities for statehood and economic viability. Had the Palestinian leaders accepted the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947 -- two states for two peoples -- there would have been a Palestinian state side-by-side with Israel. Had they accepted the peace plan offered by President Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000-2001 or the even the more generous plan offered by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008, there would now be a viable Palestinian state on 95 percent of the West Bank and Gaza. But no! Neither offer was accepted, much to the regret of many moderate Palestinians and Sunni Arabs in the region.

Now the United States is working on yet another peace plan which the Palestinian leadership has already rejected without even knowing its precise contents. It is enough for them to know that the plan is being proposed by the Trump administration, which recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights (which was never claimed to be part of any Palestinian state).

But neither of these recognitions undercuts the possibility of a Palestinian state or even of a Palestinian capital in part of Jerusalem. They are yet another pretext for missing an opportunity for Palestinian leaders to sit down and negotiate a good deal for the Palestinian people.

Palestinian statehood is not off the table, although every deliberately missed opportunity makes it more difficult for the Palestinians to reasonably demand a state. Other groups such as the Kurds and the Tibetans have never turned down offers for their independence. The Palestinian rejections make their case for statehood weaker in comparison.

The Palestinians should send a delegation to Bahrain and participate in the meetings. They can make their demands and propose changes in the U.S. plan. There is no good reason for them not to participate. They can object to what President Trump has done and even demand that it be undone, but their objections will have no credibility if they continue to be no-shows.

One reality should be clear to the Palestinian leadership at this point if they want a state rather than a "cause" they will never get through any means other than direct negotiations with Israel. They will not get a state from the United Nations, from the European Union, from Russia, from Iran or even from the United States. Nor will they get it as a result of BDS or university protests. They will certainly not get it through military conquest or terrorism. Only by negotiating with Israel will they achieve statehood. And it won't be on the 1967 lines or without any other compromises, such as to the so-called right of return, despite dozens of meaningless one-sided resolutions, including the one engineered by outgoing President Barack Obama during his final days in office. Both sides will have to make painful compromises. Israel has already shown its willingness to do so by twice offering compromise plans. Prime Minister Netanyahu has recognized the need for Israel to make compromises. So must the Palestinian leadership.

Israel's current political deadlock, with new elections scheduled for September, will inevitably postpone any real progress toward peace. The Palestinian leadership should take advantage of this delay to attend the meeting without having to make any concessions. They can listen and propose, knowing that no final decisions are likely to be made until Israel forms a new government in the fall.

If the Palestinian leadership persists in its refusal to sit down and negotiate, they will only have themselves to blame for the lack of statehood. President Abbas himself has bemoaned the failure of Palestinian leadership to accept prior peace proposals. Now he is the leader in charge, at least in theory. He should learn the lessons of the past, come to Bahrain and begin a process of negotiation that may be the only remaining road to Palestinian statehood.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School


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Buzz of the Orient
1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    3 months ago

Hamas and the Palestinian leadership are truly the worst enemies of the Palestinian people. 

1.1  Ronin2  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    3 months ago

I will agree with in part there. Israel ranks a very close second to both.

I doubt there will ever be cohesive Palestinian leadership; something that Israel does it's utmost to prevent. The Gaza Strip and West Bank are geographically divided; and travel between the two is heavily restricted. The PA will never be able to remove Hamas; and even if they could the PA is more concerned about staying in power than actually helping their people.

Also, there is no way the Palestinians will ever be able to negotiate a viable state w/o outside help. That means more than just the US getting involved. It will take the EU, Russians, and Chinese as well. Water rights; air space; port and sea rights; border freedom with Egypt and Jordan; and ability to negotiate their own defensive and trade pacts. 

Whatever state is hashed out will need massive economic assistance for a very extended period of time. That will take far more than just the US. Also, all funding will need to go directly to the Palestinians- no stopovers in Israel. Not sure that is ever something Israel will agree to.

But it never start until there is cohesive Palestinian leadership.

Buzz of the Orient
1.1.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ronin2 @1.1    3 months ago
"But it never start until there is cohesive Palestinian leadership."

Which will never start.  Anyway, their boycott of the economic meeting just proves that it will never even be given a chance to start.  As was said - yet another missed opportunity.

Buzz of the Orient
2  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    3 months ago

Since I will not be available to moderate the comments on this seed until about 14 or 15 hours from now, I am locking it until then.

Buzz of the Orient
3  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    3 months ago

This article is now unlocked.  Okay, Omar and Tlieb supporters - go to it.

4  Enoch    3 months ago

Dear Brother Buzz: I am unable to be optimistic about a sustainable peace and mutual prosperity between players in this conflict in my life time.

All we can do is what we can do.

I know that will not be enough.

My heart continues to go out for those whose agenda is for a more rational way of life there.



Buzz of the Orient
4.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Enoch @4    3 months ago

70 years of denial and intransigence has become a tradition.


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