The Unilateral Dead End


It seems like a no-brainer; Palestinians can attain the state they crave only through a negotiated agreement that provides Israel the security it deserves. But that isn’t stopping Palestinian leaders from roaming the world, seeking meaningless recognition from feckless governments interested more in currying favor and lashing out against Israel than in contributing to an equitable solution.

They have done this before. As Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said in a meeting with leaders of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) earlier this month, they tried that ploy under Yasir Arafat in 1988 — and 22 years later, they still do not have a state.

If recent efforts that led to recognition by several South American nations are simply a ploy to apply international pressure on Israel to make the concessions Palestinian leaders have set as preconditions for serious talks, it is bound to fail. Such efforts undermine trust in the peace process and serve as a boost to Israel’s most hard-line elements.

If Palestinian leaders seriously imagine convincing countries already cool to Israel to recognize their illusory state and that Israel will somehow accept the results and pull out of the West Bank, they are seriously deluded.

We understand Palestinian frustration, but much of it is the predictable result of the bad decisions of the leadership in Ramallah – not to mention the terrorist Hamas leadership that now holds Gaza in its iron grip.

We understand Palestinian skepticism about whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is willing or able to take the huge political risks an agreement will require. But it is Netanyahu who has pressed for direct negotiations, while the Palestinians have sought unsuccessfully to use Washington to deliver Israeli concessions. And it is the Palestinian leadership that has recklessly supported those who argue that the Jews have no historic or religious connection to the land — actions that can only inflame public opinion in the Jewish state and make it significantly harder for any Israeli leader who seeks real negotiations.

A Palestinian state will not be created through threats, diplomatic diversions or actions by a hopelessly biased United Nations. Only serious, direct negotiations and compromises on both sides can produce the progress both parties say they want but which has been maddeningly elusive.