One formal agreement was signed with the Palestinians – the Oslo Accords in the mid 1990s. This required them to stop educational, social and religious incitement and redirect it toward peaceful coexistence. They were also obligated to amend the PLO charter calling for Israel’s destruction, shut down terror groups, prevent terror attacks, and protect Jewish holy sites in Judea and Samaria. They did none of these, thus the accord isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
Since then, various attempts to bring long-term peace have also failed. The most serious effort was Camp David ll in 2000 between Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat. In these talks, Barak offered 97% of Judea and Samaria, all of the Gaza Strip, 75% of the Old City of Jerusalem, control over the Temple Mount, the right of return to an unspecified amount of Palestinian “refugees,” compensation for unreturned refugees, and release of prisoners, including those who murdered innocent Israelis.
The offer was universally recognized as unprecedented. After talks collapsed, President Clinton said he "couldn’t believe how good the offer was." In the end Arafat flatly rejected it, and was quoted several months later as saying “they can go to hell.” A subsequent Palestinian intifada ensued, resulting in a huge increase of terror attacks against Israel. Thus Israel was forced to take control of protecting its civilians by constructing a security fence. Countless lives have been saved as a result.
Currently, Kerry is attempting to put forward an agreement which is based on the ’67 borders with mutual land swaps. Discussions include uprooting 20% (roughly 80,000) of Jews living in Judea and Samaria, financial compensation for unreturned Palestinian “refugees,” and the release of more murderous prisoners. He’s apparently pushing for an internationalized Jerusalem, which may include Jews losing unrestricted access to the Kotel (Western Wall).
What will Israel get in return? Thus far all that is being asked of the Palestinians is to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and references to ensuring Israel’s security. To date the Palestinians have yet to make a single counter offer. Every time recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is brought up, their leadership rejects it. Compensation for the proposed uprooting of 80,000 Jews has not been raised. Once again, all the compromising is being offered by Israel.
This is not a "peace process." By virtue of Israel turning over huge amounts of land, possibly including the Old City of Jerusalem, it’s more of a p-i-e-c-e process.
Interested in peaceful coexistence?
The Palestinians claim they’re seeking dignity, self-determination and independence. If this is true, would accepting Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state prevent them from realizing these? The past several Israeli prime ministers, including current PM Netanyahu, have committed to accepting an independent Palestine. The fact that the Palestinians flatly refuse to accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state should make it clear their goal is more than “dignity, self-determination and independence.”
Their charters continue to call for Israel’s destruction. They continue to deny documented historical evidence of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem. Official PA television continues to show programming vilifying Jews and Israel. Mahmoud Abbas continues to honor murderers as “heroes.” Official emblems of Fatah, the PLO and other Palestinian groups continue to show all of Israel being replaced by a single Muslim state of Palestine. When murderers are released from Israeli prison, they are welcomed back with outpourings of love and admiration for their murderous legacy.
Does this look like a people and leadership that’s interested in peaceful coexistence with the State of Israel?
Israel has demonstrated goodwill by accepting a Palestinian state, leaving the Gaza Strip, committing to huge land sacrifices, releasing throngs of murderers from prison, compensation of unreturned refugees and more.
Don’t the Palestinians have an obligation to offer goodwill gestures? If peaceful coexistence with Israel is their goal, why can’t they amend their charters by removing the language calling for Israel’s destruction? Why maintain it if peace is truly their goal?
The so-called “peace process” is an attempt to bully Israel under threat of increased isolation into making risky concessions which will not facilitate peace. The Palestinians have proven themselves unwilling to honor previous agreements. The current Kerry Plan will give the Palestinians a huge piece of Israel, allowing them major progress toward their ultimate goal of eliminating Israel altogether, while Israel gets virtually nothing in return. It will not bring peace.
Dan Calic is a writer, history student and speaker. See additional articles on his Facebook page