Who is Opposed to a Palestinian State?

This fascinating video via Cranmer,


Of course, the argument is not so much that the Palestinian negotiators have been opposed to a Palestinian state – they're just apparently impaccably opposed to an Israeli state.

It rings true for me, but perhaps others have a different view?

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7 comments on “Who is Opposed to a Palestinian State?

  1. Hi David,
    This is an unbelievably one-sided production. If this was about any other issue, you and Cranmer would reject it as unbalanced and not upload it on your site. I live a few hundred km from the Gaza Strip, and the view from here is a bit different to the view from Sydney or London or Washington.
    This video ignores:
    – The extensive and growing Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.
    – The security operations undertaken by Israel in the occupied territories that have killed thousands of Palestinians
    – The thousands of Palestinians languishing without trial in Israeli jails.
    – The daily humiliation inflicted on Palestinians by the IDF at the plethora of security checkpoints.
    – Tthe rejection by Israel of the Arab Peace Initiative and the PLO peace plan in 2008 as revealed by Al Jazeera in February this year.
    – The discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel.
    – The illegal acquisition of Palestinian land through the security wall and other techniques.

    Can I suggest you read a book like Colin Chapman’s Whose Promised Land, or Elias Chacour’s We Belong to the Land to get a more balanced view of the history and current situation? Yes, there are Palestinian groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad that reject an Israeli state outright. Just as there are Jewish groups that will not rest until they have reclaimed all of OT Israel and forced out or exterminated anyone currenlty living there.

    What people like us can do is encourage progress towards a peaceful and just settlement – not take sides and propagate diatribes like these.

    Andrew Reid

  2. hi Andrew, thanks so much for your comment. I’m sure the perspective in Cairo is rather different! Perhaps a couple of observations/responses from me…

    – I think I’m in agreement with you that the settlements are often provocative. But I wonder if that has any impact upon the pre-1967 history which is set out here?
    – How do we respond to the claim that the security operations are in response to terrorism launched from the territories? Not to discount the(I’m sure) deliberately loose way in which targetting can be carried out by the IDF.
    – no disagreement, but how does it change the argument?
    – ditto
    – would genuinely love to be pointed to that
    – such as?
    – again, I’m with you on this issue – but it strikes me as being rather late in the game.

    Do hear me right – I don’t think that the Israeli state is by any means spotless.

  3. Hi David,
    Thanks for your response. What I’m looking for is a balanced presentation of the history and the current situation. The reality today is that the Palestinians are the only side who have a legitimate peace offer on the table – full recognition of Israel by all Arab states in return for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. There are still Palestinians who violenty oppose an Israeli state, just as there are Israelis who oppose a Palestinian state and want to re-create the Davidic kingdom. Israel managed to negotiate terms with Egypt (which involved giving up occupied Sinai) and Jordan. Of course Palestine is much more sensitive, but I’m not sure the current Israeli leadership would have got either of those deals done.

    As to your specific responses:
    – Settlements are a post 1967 issue, but the major stumbling block today. It shows the Israeli govt is not interested in achieving a deal, but rather acquiring more territory illegally.
    – Often the IDF operations are in response to terrorist activities from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups. The issue is proportionality and the collective responsibility doctrine Israel follows, ie it’s perfectly legitimate for Israel to kill thousands of innocent civilians during Operation Cast Lead because of rocket fire by the armed wing of Hamas, or to bomb Lebanon into oblivion because Hezbollah kidnapped Gilad Shalit.
    – The argument seems to be that Palestinians are a war mongering people who will never accept an Israeli state. I’m trying to show that the Israelis don’t adhere to the democratic ideals they espouse (e.g. imprisonment without trial), and won’t accept a Palestinian state.
    – I’m trying to demonstrate that Israel is hardly the democratic paradise it’s often proclaimed as, and that given their contempt for Palestinians, they are unlikely to relinquish the land they view as rightfully theirs.
    – Palestine papers are here: english.aljazeera.net/palestinepapers/
    Arab peace initiative is here, including Israeli reaction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Peace_Initiative
    (I know Wikipedia isn’t reliable always, but it gets the major facts right on this occasion)
    – Such as where they can live, schooling, national service (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/19/AR2007121902681.html http://www.h,rw.org/news/2011/03/30/israel-new-laws-marginalize-palestinian-arab-citizens) It is clear Israel wants to send these people back to a Palestinian enclave rather than treat them as citizens – this is where the recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state” is coming from.
    – It seems to me impossible to reach an agreement on land if one side is continually extending the amount of land under occupation.

    The more I learn about this issue, the more I’m convinced it needs a spiritual resolution rather than a political one. Hearts are so hard on both sides, they need spiritual regeneration rather than political compromise. In the mean time, those of us on the outside need to encourage progress towards a resolution by careful, informed diplomacy and honest, impartial mediation based on a balanced and informed knowledge of the history.

    Andrew

  4. Thanks Andrew,

    I think I remain to be convinced that there is anywhere near sufficient genuine goodwill on the Palestinian side. However,

    I do agree with you that further settlements are contrary to any peace process. As you say, they signal an unwillingness to deal reasonably.
    I’m also minded to observe that the Palestinians are certainly a tool for other interests, particularly those who do want to destroy the Israeli state.
    I’m in agreement with the sentiment of your last paragraph. But I (obviously) think the balance of the difficulties still come from one side. That’s not to say it’s completely polarised. However, I’m struck with the quite deliberate way almost all of Israel’s neighbours sought to destroy the nation prior to their being any occupation of the West Bank/Gaza Strip. I think it takes a massive alteration in the situation to persuade Israel it is no longer under threat.

  5. Andrew,

    It strikes me, having read the wiki article, is that the main stumbling block on the Arab side is Hamas/Hezbollah. It’s counter-intuitive to be promoting a peace plan when not openly condemning the actions of these organisations.
    In this respect, is it even possible that the Fatah movement is ahead of many of its neighbours?

  6. Hi David,

    Fair enough. I’m not convinced there’s sufficient goodwill on the Israeli side. Have a look at what the PA was willing to give up in the Palestine papers –
    http://english.aljazeera.net/palestinepapers/2011/01/2011122112512844113.html
    As for threats, the biggest threat to Israel today is Iran and its proxies in Syria and Lebanon. If Israel could deal with the Palestinian issue, they could focus on Iran, which is an order of magnitude bigger problem – well-resourced military, nuclear technology, rockets that would reach Israel. Israel has peace deals with Egypt and Jordan, and the other Arab nations these days can’t even coordinate who sits where at Arab League meetings, let alone a full-scale attack on the world’s fourth largest army. They couldn’t beat Dad’s Army, let alone Israel. Remember too, that if they solve the Palestinian issue, they get full recognition from all Arab countries. They would also remove the cause celebre of Islamic terrorist groups the world over. You’re right that Palestine is a proxy issue for many countries. Yasser Arafat tried a few too many coups in Arab countries for them to trust the Palestinians again.

    Hezbollah is a different issue, in that they operate from southern Lebanon. They don’t really have any activity or influence in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. They would certainly be in the picture for resolving the Golan Heights, and also the issue of returning Palestinian refugees from Lebanon. Hamas are certainly an issue in Gaza. They aren’t as strong in the West Bank. They have not renounced violence, nor will they ever recognise an Israeli state directly. It seems to me that they attract supporters because there is so little progress on the political front. If the Palestinian Authority could show some progress in their negotiations with Israel, my judgment is that support for Hamas would wane. Corruption and poor use of funds by the PA is another issue that sends people to the arms of Hamas. Remember that the PLO used to be a terrorist organisation, and were engaged in far worse activities than launching home-made rockets. However, careful engagement by Israel and the West, and holding out some carrots as well as sticks, led to them renouncing violence and signing a number of peace accords with Israel. A similar approach may achieve better results than the policy of isolating Hamas.

  7. Hamas has – at times – publically offered a “long-term” ceasefire with Israel, with final status negotiations in say 50 years.

    More recently, Hamas has said they will not change their “official charter” – but they would respect a settlement agreed in a referendum:

    On 1 December 2010, Ismail Haniyeh said that “Hamas will respect the results (of a referendum) regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles”[64] and that ‎“We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees.”[65]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas#Current_Status

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