by Barry Rubin
Reportedly, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has just made two itty-bitty requests (or should I say, demands?) in order to return to direct negotiations.
Second, that no matter what happens in the talks, and whether or not
Let's take a moment and consider what this means. Most remarkable is the way the whole back-and-forth over direct negotiations disproves the central tenet of the mainstream narrative accepted in the West on this issue.
We are to believe that the Palestinians passionately yearn for a state, are suffering from violence and occupation and misery etc. etc. Yet if this is true, wouldn't the PA be pushing for successful negotiations as hard as possible?.Wouldn't they have been insisting on direct negotiations in 2009?
In short, why if the Palestinians are so motivated to get a state aren't they in a hurry to get one?
The answer turns the usual narrative on its head: because the leadership is weak in moderation, because most of Fatah wants total victory, because they'd rather wait for decades in order to get everything, or at least insist on getting a state without giving up anything in terms of concessions, and because they are afraid of Hamas and are not so unhappy with the status quo. Because by denying a solution they can make
In other words,
This conclusion fits the facts, the opposite conclusion doesn't. Perhaps people should draw this conclusion.
The second point is that basically borders and the creation of a state are the only two bits of leverage
The other demand, an automatic timetable for a Palestinian state, is even worse. Such a stipulation would give the PA every incentive to sabotage talks since it would still get the prize of independence even if it didn't make a single compromise. Any negotiator would be crazy to agree that one side gains total victory by making sure the two sides fail to reach agreement.
Even if one favors a negotiated settlement based on the 1967 borders with relatively minor changes or territorial swaps or both, this proposal is still disastrous. For in order to agree to 1967 boundaries, Israel wants to see some of its demands met on: end of conflict, recognition of Jewish state, the precise boundaries, the status of eastern Jerusalem, security guarantees, limits on Palestinian state militarization, and settlement of Palestinian refugees in a Palestinian state.
Once again, Abbas’s strategy shows he isn’t interested in making peace. Why should the West and world act as if the Palestinian leadership is doing them a favor by agreeing to accept a state on its own terms? Such a solution even if achieved, which is unlikely, is a formula for more violence and instability.
Incidentally, in writing this piece I'm reminded of an appropriate story told to me by a reader (and paralleled in both my shopping and political experience many times):
During a tour of
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
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