Note From Israel: President Trump, Don’t Believe The Palestinians

Note From Israel: President Trump, Don’t Believe The Palestinians, by Ran Baratz.

Peace between Israel and the Palestinians always seems “so close” – but remains elusive. … The tears of despair are the result of misguided expectations. In order to examine this, the following is a summary of the negotiations led by left-wing governments in Israel. …

Arafat famously said “No” to the Camp David accords with Clinton, no matter what The Israelis offered.

Yassar Arafat, who famously died with over US$1 billion in his personal bank accounts — not bad for the unelected leader of an impoverished refugee camp.

In 2008, the most generous offer ever made was presented to the Palestinians. The concessions were excessive, crossing every Israeli red line: Olmert promised to withdraw all presence of the Israel Defense Forces from Judea and Samaria; he conceded sovereignty over east Jerusalem and the Old City – including the Western Wall! He offered 94% of the territory of Judea and Samaria, and the remaining 6% would be given to the Palestinians with land swaps in central Israeli areas, including a tunnel that would connect Gaza to the West Bank. Olmert implored Abu Mazen: “The Palestinians won’t get an offer like this even in another 50 years!”

Again, everything was ready. The teams were excited. Abbas himself admitted that such a generous offer was unprecedented. Only one thing was missing to finally end this cursed and unnecessary conflict, one with gaps that could supposedly be bridged and a solution known to all: that Abu Mazen would say: “Yes!”

But Abu Mazen said: NO. …

Perpetual refusal by the Palestinians:

There is never a Palestinian counter offer. There never was one and there never will be. Therefore the Israeli side always finds itself in a dilemma: either I get up and go…or I make another concession, another squeeze. But at the end, even the most moderate person reaches the point where he says to himself: Wait a minute, the people on the other side have no end goal. Another squeeze and another squeeze, but it’s never enough for them. It never ends. …

The story of the heartbroken dove Ben-Ami is in line with many descriptions of the Palestinian conduct, including from the American team. For example, this is how Dennis Ross described the back and forth between President Clinton and the Palestinian negotiating team at Camp David:

President Clinton said: “This is the beginning of the negotiations, so I need you to respond to it.” Abu Ala said: “I can’t respond to this.” Clinton: “At least point out what were the problems with the Israeli map. Don’t just reject it. Point out the problems.” And they wouldn’t even do that. Every suggestion he made, they simply said no. …

Three facts emerge after years of negotiations:

1. The Palestinians never initiate negotiations. They are always forced upon them.

2. During the negotiations, the Palestinians never present their own peace plan.

3. The Palestinians end every negotiation, no matter how generous the offer, with a refusal.

Two competing theories for Palestinian behavior:

The first theory states that the Palestinians desire peace, like the Israelis and Americans who negotiated with them, but for some mysterious reason they act as if they are not interested in it. Consequently, the Left, which espouses this theory, is forced to start making excuses for the Palestinians behavior, instead of explaining it. …

The competing theory states that the talks always fail because the Palestinians are not interested in negotiating a permanent agreement. … According to this theory it’s not a negotiation tactic that fails each time, but the exact opposite: it is a successful strategy of abstention from a permanent agreement. …

The bitter joke that “the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity” is completely illogical. Since the Palestinians don’t want the end that these “opportunities” present, for them these are not opportunities at all – more like historical traps. This is why they need to be avoided rather than taken advantage of. …

Trump will fail:

The negotiation that Trump will force upon the Palestinians will end miserably. It is not a lack in mediation skills that will foil Trump’s efforts, but the mistaken conception that the Palestinians are interested in negotiating a peace agreement at all. …

If the President is still unconvinced and wants proof ahead of failure, I would ask him to perform a simple test: before he commits to negotiations, he should ask the Palestinians for their peace plan – the Israelis’ he has long had. If he receives one, by all means, try another round of negotiations. But if the Palestinians send him – as Arafat used to say – “to drink Gaza’s sea water,” it’s a sign that nothing has changed and failure is looming on the horizon.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific