Why Hasn’t There Been Peace in the Middle East?
Consistently denying Israel’s right to exist
Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has fought in seven wars, been confronted with Palestinian intifadas, and suffered countless random acts of terrorism against her citizens. So, after 67 years of conflict, why is there still no peace in the Middle East? The answer is quite simple: Israel has no willing partner for peace.
The Palestinian leadership has consistently “never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity” for peace. In 2002, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat rejected Israel’s offer to create a Palestinian state on 97% of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made another generous offer to the Palestinian Authority: Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and land equivalent to 100% of the West Bank. Again, the Palestinian leadership walked away from the negotiating table.
The past 80 years of history proves that Palestinian leaders do not want an independent state. Instead, the Palestinian leadership’s principal objective continues to be the destruction of Israel.
For this reason the Palestinian leadership has never agreed to the basic security arrangements necessary to protect the Israeli people. Instead, if a Palestinian state were to be created tomorrow, nearly half of the Palestinian population would be ruled by Hamas – a violent terrorist organization fundamentally opposed to peace.
Another major obstacle to peace is the Palestinian leadership’s refusal to renounce the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. The so-called “right of return” means that millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees would settle in Israel. No Israeli leader would ever accept the “right of return,” as it would mean the end of Israel. Yet, the Palestinian leadership has never told its own people that this claim will have to be forfeited in order to achieve peace.
The Palestinian Authority also refuses to prepare their people for the future possibility of two-states living in peace. Instead, it fosters a culture of hate against Israelis and Jews in Palestinian mosques, schools, and media. Jews are demonized, Israelis are falsely accused, and Palestinian children are taught to aspire to murder them. All while consistently denying Israel’s right to exist.
Time and time again, the Israeli government has extended an olive branch of peace to Palestinian leadership and time and time again, these efforts have been have been met with rejection from Palestinian leadership.
If international leaders really want peace between Israel and the Palestinians, then they need to admit where the problem lies and require serious changes from the Palestinian leadership.
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—by Susan Michael, ICEJ USA Director