You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

The real obstacle to peace


Shortly after Benjamin Netanyahu won his bid for re-election as prime minister of Israel in March 2015, I wrote a column describing President Barack Obama as being ”on track to go down as more hostile toward Israel than any president in the past 68 years.” I warned that President Obama was so anti-Netanyahu that administration officials were signaling the president might change U.S. votes at the United Nations Security Council, ”perhaps not opposing U.N. resolutions condemning the Jewish state on settlements and other issues,” for example. Those words proved prophetic last week when the U.S. abstained from voting on a resolution condemning Israel for its settlement activity while giving only lip service to condemnation of terrorist activity against Israel and its citizens.

First let’s be clear: The U.N. resolution and the support for it is not really about settlement policy. Israel, under successive governments, has had an on-again, off-again policy on building settlements in disputed territory, which has had little effect on the prospects for a comprehensive peace deal. The only true peace treaty negotiated with any of the countries that fought in the 1967 war was the Camp David Accords, agreed to by Israel and Egypt in 1978. With the signing of the accords at a White House ceremony that I was privileged to attend, Israel returned land seized in Sinai from Egypt and dismantled settlement there in 1982. In 2005, Israel dismantled all settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank.

In return, Israel has been the target of repeated Palestinian terrorist attacks against its citizens — and Palestinians have refused to negotiate in good faith. From September 2015 through November 2016, 42 people were killed by terrorists in Israel and another 602 wounded. Israeli restraint in the face of such unbridled viciousness is remarkable. Although peace talks have occurred under the auspices of the United States and other nations, it’s the Palestinians’ balking at accepting demands that Israel have the right to exist that has been the main impediment, not refusal of Israel to cede some land acquired in the 1967 war.

The very notion that Palestinians have a right to land over which they have never in history exerted control seems a stretch, but it’s one that much of the world, including the U.S. under both Democratic and Republican presidents, has accepted at face value. Prior to World War I, the people we now call Palestinians — and others in what are now the disputed territories — lived under Ottoman rule, along with all Jordanians. After Allied forces defeated the Ottomans in WWI, the League of Nations created the British mandate over the area, empowering Britain to establish a ”Jewish national homeland” while respecting the rights of the resident Arab population.

It was the Arabs’ refusal to accept the establishment of any Jewish state in the territories that began what has now been a nearly 70-year stalemate on the creation of a Palestinian state. That recalcitrance has been marked by a complete refusal to make real peace, interspersed with wars against Israel by its neighbors in 1948, 1967 and 1973, as well as a continuous campaign of terrorism against the Jewish state and its citizens.

With a new administration taking office in Washington on Jan. 20, one can only hope that the U.S. will do more to tackle the real obstacles to peace in the disputed territories by pressuring the Palestinians at least as hard as the Israelis. A two-state solution is possible only if both parties are equally committed to living side by side peacefully, and so far, the Palestinians have yet to prove they are.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Smith: Serving up lies to “Intimidation and Customs Enforcement” raids
Smith: Serving up lies to “Intimidation and Customs Enforcement” raids

Remember when Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republican state officials hated the federal government? Why, a few years ago former Gov. Rick Perry even tossed the word “secession” into his poisonous mix of anti-President Obama rhetoric. He was, we were told, just kidding. Think back to 2015, when Abbott and others feared that run-of-the-mill...
Mackowiak: Abbott, Patrick seek to protect public with SB4

In near record time, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 4, legislation authored by state Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), which seeks to end so-called sanctuary city policies in our state. To date, only Travis County has put such policies in place, while Dallas County has reserved the right to do so on a case-by-case basis. The other 252 county sheriffs...
Trump a leader of nationalism, not patriotism

National Review has sparked an important debate about nationalism. As someone who has been accused throughout her life of excessive love of country, I feel a bit awkward rebutting anything that travels under the name “Love of Country.” Nevertheless, I must join Jonah Goldberg, Yuval Levin, Ben Shapiro and others in demurring from Rich Lowry...
Letters to the Editor: February 20, 2017
Letters to the Editor: February 20, 2017

Re: Feb. 8 article, “Pence breaks tie in DeVos confirmation.” Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn voted for Betsy DeVos as secretary of education despite the outpouring of input against her from their constituents. Cornyn said that the Democrats’ concerns about DeVos weren’t “particularly fair” and argued that their...
Viewpoints: Improving police rapport with blacks starts with The Talk

This year, as in recent years, Austin topped a key national list for the best place to live in the country. But if you are African-American, the Austin experience has another foreboding side that requires black parents to provide special training for their children. They do that through The Talk. Not properly preparing children – and especially...
More Stories