Gaza Strip Hamas Israel Middle East peace process Palestinians two-state solution

The myth that “Israel has no partner” for peace

The claim that “Israel has no partner for peace” is often trotted out by Israeli and American Jews. Sometimes it is backed up by the argument that the Palestinians are in political disarray, and that relatively moderate Palestinians don’t have the power to stop violent extremists from wrecking any agreement.

That argument deserves to be taken very seriously, although it ignores the promise shown by Palestinian security forces who –with Israeli and American help– have squelched violence and terror in the West Bank. And it ignores the fact that, as noted by Reuters, Hamas has been clamping down on Islamic Jihad’s rocket fire and that its leaders insist they are willing to accept a long term “truce” with Israel. Still, the premise that Palestinian leaders cannot enforce a peace agreement even if they wanted to is very reasonable and troubling, and should not be blithely dismissed. And no peace agreement should even be on the table unless there are security guarantees [for both peoples] that go well beyond what was attempted during the Oslo peace process (NATO troops? American monitors with the clout needed to call each side to task if they violate agreements?). It’s important to note that Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip also will need security guarantees and some kind of protection from the Israelis.

What does not deserve to be taken seriously is the oft-heard notion that the Palestinian people don’t want peace. Pollster Dahlia Scheindlin has another great article in the current issue of Jerusalem Report that, sadly, is not available on-line. She went to Ramallah, talked to Palestinian pollsters, and analyzed opinion research on a host of issues. It’s worth buying the magazine just to read her. Here are some of her insights:

This myth [that Israel has no partner] has run its ignominious course. Palestinian public opinion repeatedly shows support, sometimes more, sometimes somewhat less – but very similar levels to Israel, for a peace agreement.

An easy and consistent majority of Palestinians support the general notion of reaching a peace agreement – 66% in June (Near East Consulting July Time Series). A broad 68% majority of Palestinians think Hamas should stop calling for the elimination of Israel…

…Trends among women remain worrying: they are simply less supportive of peace. Only 58% said Hamas should change its position – compared to 78% of men. (NEC)

But there is no evidence that the overall support is lip service – it’s backed by substance. Absolute majorities in both Gaza and the West Bank support freezing all rocket fire (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research): 51% and 57%, respectively. Nearly seven in ten (68%) of Gaza respondents said it is very or somewhat important to release Gilad Shalit (GQRR).

Palestinians support the substance of agreements as well. Sixty-six percent prefer the “Arab Initiative” to the status quo (International Peace Institute). Likewise, top Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki’s August survey for the Joint Israel Palestine Poll for the Truman Institute (or JIPP), 1270 Palestinians, face-to-face, +/-3) showed 64% support for the Saudi plan – up from 57% in June.

IPI showed an absolute majority supporting each component of the Geneva/Taba accords. Only the compromise on Jerusalem received less than majority support (46%; 52% opposed). But in most Israeli polls, only about one-third agree to sharing the capital. Here’s a polling pitfall alert: the August JIPP Israel survey showing that only 32% of Israelis support a Jerusalem compromise also shows, in Shikaki’s Palestinian version, that only 31% of Palestinians support it (JIPP Israel: 602 sample, conducted by Yakov Shamir, August 2009)…

…The “no partner” myth is so strong here [in Israel] that it sunk in there. The clearest mirror image related to peace is the finding that fully three-quarters of Palestinians think they have no partner for peace in Israel (77%). Fully three-quarters (75%) believe that the Palestinians are a partner for peace. (NEC, July 2009)

38 thoughts on “The myth that “Israel has no partner” for peace

  1. There certainly are the Abrahamic 50.

    Peace is so much more desirable than contention, especially with the devolution of the treaties with Egypt and Jordan, which are stressing currently.

    Jordan is affected by expansion in the West Bank. Egypt is affected by restiveness in Gaza, precipitated by Israeli callousness to their suffering during and following the December conflict.

    It is not necessary for Israel to expropriate East Jerusalem, even if Netanyahu perceives this era as the last chance to. He should recognize that of itself, it is bad judgement.

  2. Neither side is a suitable peace partner for the other side at present. This is because both sides want to make peace with only minor compromises and modifications of its national vision. Both parties see themselves as virtuous, as victims, and as being in the right while their national rival is in the wrong. This is stronger on the Palestinian side because being authoritarian, it leaves less room for public dissent and argument. Its continual losses have put it into a vicious circle or feedback loop where it sees itself as the victim, turns to terrorism, and then when this produces further defeat and victimhood, resorts to further terrorism.

    Israel is also stuck in a vicious circle or feedback loop with each round of escalating terrorism producing further repression and a loosening of moral standards when it comes to combatting terrorism. The main difference since 1967 is that Labor has moved to the Left, but Israeli society has moved to the Right, so that Labor (and Meretz) has less influence in Israel today than the Ma’arakh had in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

    Israel/Palestine is in a stalemate, but not yet a sufficiently wounding stalemate to make it ripe for negotiation and peace. This may require another war like Gaza, interference from Iran, and Western intervention. But I suspect that most of all it will require the discrediting of the dominant ideologies on each side–Islamism and militant Revisionist Zionism. The latter is in the process of slowly changing; the former is about where the Likud was in 1978 or 1979. Unless the Shabak can soon learn to penetrate the Islamists as it once penetrated the secular Palestinian movements and the British penetrated the republican paramilitaries, the Middle East is due for much more violence.

  3. These polls do NOT show that there is a “partner for peace” on terms that any conceivable Israeli government can agree to.

    First, it is important to remember that the Palestinians are not free agents in that they could potentially make an agreement on their own. The other Arab countries have massive influence and their opposition to Israel has nothing to do with supposed concern for “Palestinian self-determination”. General opposition to Israel’s existence is based on Muslim and Arab opposition to an alien, dhimmi state existing within the Dar al-Islam (The Realm of Islam), and any Palestinian regime that agreed to peace with Israel would be viewed by many Arabs as collaborationist and illegitmate. In this view, the Palestinians are merely the front line fighters in the cause, not the main element. Benny Morrris mentions this in his book about Israel’s War of Independence.

    Secondly, in the Arab Middle East, majority public opinion doesn’t count for very much. All the regimes are autocratic/authoritarian (including the two regimes that are currently ruling the Palestinian territories) and the public is viewed as being subservient to the will of the ruler, not the other way around.

    But, what is it that these poll results show regarding the Palestinians “desire for peace”? No doubt, they, like all people, want peace, but the question is “ON WHAT TERMS”? Do these polls show that they are willing to compromise on the major issues that have prevented agreement up until now? No, they don’t.
    First, even the pollster admits that they are not prepared for any compromises on Jerusalem.
    Secondly, it is interesting to note the that Palestinian “Right of Return” IS NOT EVEN MENTIONED! Yes, they do mention the “Geneva Accords” but that refers to dealing with the refugees is a way acceptable TO BOTH SIDES, including the Palestinian (otherwise, no deal).

    In fact, evne the results that do get majority support which is interpreted here as meaning “support for peace” do not necessarily lend themselves to that interpretation. For example, opposing rocket fire into Israel isn’t necessarily because “it is wrong”, or “it is not in the spirit of peace”, but a Palestinian can oppose it because it is ineffectual and brings about sanctions on the Palestinians which hurt (I suspect that is indeed the reasoning of the majority of those who oppose it). Same about holding Gilad Shalit.
    Same with the majority that says HAMAS should give up its “demand for the elimination of Israel”–it can be interpreted as being ineffectual and preventing EU and US money from reaching the HAMAS controlled territories, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that those who think that HAMAS should give this up really want peace with Israel in the end.
    Thus, we can maybe say that there is a majority for a “PEACE PROCESS”, but there is no partner for real, contractual PEACE.
    It should also be noted that there is a significant minority that IS in favor of indiscriminate rocket fire on Israel, that supports HAMAS call to eliminate Israel, that opposed releasing Gilad Shalit, that opposes peace with Israel on ANY terms!

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but it is time that the “peace camp” realize the truth.
    This does not mean that the situation can’t change in the future, but that can only happen once radical, politicized Islam is seen to be in decline, and we are all waiting for that to happen.

  4. I think the points Tom and Yaakov made are relevant–and pretty much state the same thing–albeit Yaakov is looking more at radical Islam and not so much the extremist elements of Zionism.

    But they pose an important question that peace seekers seem to ignore: How does this conflict realistically end when the spectre of regional AND LOCAL Islamic jihad is a dominant player?

    The Left is useless because they refuse to admit this is the case.

    IMO no serious analysis or resolution can take place without addressing this. So far the tendency has been to put pressure on Israel (because it is more open to reason and political pressure)–and to ignore Islamic jihad.

    The physics of this approach is not working. Too lopsided.

  5. Suzanne-
    I don’t know what you are talking about regarding “extremist elements in Zionism”. You will recall that I have on numerous occassions stated that I believe that if the Palestinians were to publicly give up the demand for the “Right of Return” of the refugees, that a major upheaval would occur in Israel and the Left would be able, on short notice while everyone is off balance, to push through a scheme to pretty much accept a withdrawal to close to the pre-67 lines and uprooting of almost all of the settlements. We have seen situations like this before, in the period after Oslo was signed and with the destruction of Gush Katif which “tough right-wing General Sharon and the right-wing LIKUD” pushed through. What you call “extremist elements in Zionism” operate within the vacuum that exists due to Arab refusal to make peace with Israel, and not so much within the regular political structure in the Knesset where they only have a few seats. If the Palestinians don’t like settlements being built, they have only themselves to blame because of their refusal to make peace.

  6. “What you call “extremist elements in Zionism” operate within the vacuum that exists due to Arab refusal to make peace with Israel, and not so much within the regular political structure in the Knesset where they only have a few seats.”

    I agree. They do exist as a reaction to other extremist elements. I’m not there, so I don’t know…but a lot of moderates do argue that extremists (who want to expand Israeli borders) do wield a lot of political clout.

  7. Also…we are on the same regarding right of return. As far as I’m concerned…that’s the biggest issue obstructing peace and the end of Israeli occupation.

  8. What Dan characterizes as a “myth” in the title is picked up and offered as reality by Tom Mitchell.

    “Neither side is suitable” leads to “Palestinians being authoritarian” and finally he’s lamenting that the Palestinians themselves are the makers of their own destruction. Or to paraphrase Golda Meir, he hates what those goat herders and olive farmers make his enormous military apparatus do to them.

    Considering that magnitude of bias, Tom Mitchell’s characterization of either Palestine as authoritarian, or Palestinians as authoritarian personalities, is rather suspect. And that’s not to mention that such essentialist descriptions of the enemy are symptoms of an authoritarian nationalist mindset to begin with.

    But I bet nearly every Zionist here subconsciously nodded when they read that.

    Dan, do you agree with Mitchell’s assertion, “Palestinians…being authoritarian”? Richard? Suzy Q?

    Now multiply yourselves by tens of millions. That many people, believe something so essential about another group. Zionism made ethnic nationalism bloom far outside of that little strip of desert.

    It bloomed in the indigenous population, it bloomed in the neighboring countries, and it bloomed far, far away, in all of you.

  9. Actually, pressure on Israel is slight compared to pressure on the Palestinians, as can be seen from the endlessly reiterated demands that Palestinians recognize Israel, which the PA has already done, compared to no pressure whatsoever on Israel to recognize the Palestinian right to a state. It’s not Israel that is the subject of a massive embargo, but Gaza Palestinians.

    And claiming that Islamic jihad is being ignored is kind of ridiculous when America is fighting a war in Afghanistan against jihadis. And Islamic jihadis don’t control a single Arab state, (withe possibly exception of Sudan, which isn’t involved much in the Arab-Israeli conflict) which makes it hard to see them as the main obstacle.

  10. “Dan, do you agree with Mitchell’s assertion, “Palestinians…being authoritarian”? Richard? Suzy Q?”

    Do you understand what he meant by that? He doesn’t mean the Arab character…he means the traditional style of governance.

    And yeah…I do agree with that. We can’t impose a Western style democratic mindset on anyone…thus we certainly need to recognize when it’s not innate to the culture. Agreed?

  11. Islamic jihad as it pertains to Israel IS BEING IGNORED.

    Personally, I could care less if Palestinians officially recognize Israel as a state. They just need to give up “Right of Return” and the rest of it falls into place.

  12. This is all semantics at this point. And I think y-ben will bear me out on this. What the Goldstone report does, along with all the machinations is this. It says to the average Israeli in the street that Israel has NO right of self defense. none. Ergo, they simply cannot allow an Iranian proxy, ‘hamas”, to dominate the west bank ridge line. It’s that simple. What the UN has done here is make peace less possible, not more.

  13. No, MM, I don’t think it is accurate to characterize Palestinians with the sweeping adjective of “authoritarian.” There are some Palestinians who want a strong hand, just as some Israelis do (including many from the former Soviet Union). But Dahlia Scheindlin has some data on this in her article. She writes:

    “Palestinians favor democracy. Three-quarters insisted that Palestinian society be a democracy, including 64% of Hamas supporters, and even 79% of women. Over half, 56%, viewed democracy as a universal system applicable to all societies (NEC July). Yet, 77% believe that religion is the source of all laws. This proves the succinct observation of German author Joseph Roth: “Passion and beliefs are tangled in the hearts and minds of men, and there is no such thing as psychological consistency.”

  14. MM:
    You should read “Arafat: From Defender to Dictator” by Said Aburish for the section dealing with the Palestinian Authority. It hasn’t changed all that much under Abbas and Hamastan is if anything worse.

  15. Suzanne,

    Do you understand what he meant by that? He doesn’t mean the Arab character…he means the traditional style of governance.
    And yeah…I do agree with that. We can’t impose a Western style democratic
    mindset on anyone…thus we certainly need to recognize when it’s not innate to the culture. Agreed?

    Uhhh, no.

    You don’t mean character… just mindset… innate to the culture. Right.

    If you were a white person talking about black people, that would be considered racist. And if you were talking about Jews, anti-Semitic.

    Zionism: The sub-conscious racism seems to come with the (stolen) turf.


    “Arafat: From Defender to Dictator” by Said Aburish

    Most neutral observers really don’t view the “peace process” as a good faith effort by the Zionists that was spoiled by Palestinian “missed opportunities”.

    This is recognized to be a Zionist quasi-religious, ahistorical myth on par with “a land without a people…”.


    I don’t think it is accurate to characterize Palestinians with the sweeping adjective of “authoritarian.”

    What about American Zionist and militarist organizations, the so-called neoconservatives — would you ever characterize their methods or mentalities as authoritarian?


    It says to the average Israeli in the street that Israel has NO right of self defense.

    Thank you for demonstrating the very authoritarian mindset I alluded to. First, fear is invoked, then the invasion of the other can be framed as “self-defense”, and then the majority fall in line with the sentiment, believing the criminal aggression in Gaza was necessary and justified.

  16. MM–I find it interesting that you try to cut the talk about cultural characteristics short by crying racism–while at the same time rant ad nauseum how Jews see anti-semitism in everything.

  17. There are two relevant meanings to the term “myth”.

    One is a falsehood. I don’t know if Dan is using the term in that way.

    The second meaning is of a repeated story.

    Written Torah is a myth. A story repeated to illustrate and form primary references to be internally and collectively reconciled, so that not only the stories become part of the living myth, but the means to reconcile conflicts inherent in the story.

    Yakov’s point about the necessity for Arab leaders to confirm their recognition of Israel is off. Its already been done, twice. On two occassions, the Arab League ratified the proposal to normalize relations with Israel at the green line (or consented modifications).

    Its a pretty loud assertion, for him to not hear, even if there are some difficulties in the proposal. That’s what we bring our mediation and negotiation skill to.

    In contrast, it is known that the continued expansion of settlements, and particularly in East Jerusalem, are unnecessary for Israeli sovereignty, and harm prospects for Palestinian sovereignty.

    For Netanyahu to continue development of the settlements there is either a slap in the face of really all of the rest of the world (including the PA, but also the US), or a commitment to the prior likud ideology of Israeli annexation of the entire West Bank (with or without Palestinian limited self-governed enclaves).

    Fayyad will accomplish the institution-building required to press the issue. Palestinian self-governance will be undeniable at that point.

    So long as Abbas and Fayyad are not coerced by Hamas and likud to reject reconciliation with Israel, the institution building will proceed.

    Pressure will be brought to bear on Hamas, but the achievements of Fatah will prevail on the ground and internationally.

    Hamas wins by changing its tune weekly, which it is doing. Two weeks ago it announced, “we’ve won, we’ve achieved an agreement on Shalit”, now silence. At the same time, they announced “we are very close to reconciling with Fatah”, now refuses if it has to permanently shift to a party, and not a resistance guerilla movement.

  18. MM-
    Since you say it is “racist” to claim that the “Arab mindset” does not support democracy in the Western sense, then I assume that you supported Bush’s invasion of Iraq in order to replace a bloodthirsty dictator with the inevitable Western-style democracy that certainly replaced it, right?

    Asking a Palestinian in a poll if he supports “democracy” is meaningless. What does democracy mean to a people that have never been educated to understand what it means? Does it mean simply that we choose which man we want as dictator? Does it mean we choose to make Sharia law mandatory (as you yourself pointed out)? Does it mean “freedom of religion, freedom of expression, division of powers among the government’s various branches, etc”? They have never been exposed to these ideas.

  19. Every cloud has a silver lining-
    Why Goldstone is good for those of us who don’t believe in “the peace process”:

    If Keinon is correct (and I believe his is), this is more proof of what I have been saying over and over here-that Abbas and the PA are not interested in peace, but only in a “peace process” that keeps the EU and American money endlessly flowing into their pockets.

  20. Yakov,
    Your “saying it again and again”, is both a lie and a repetition meaning of the term myth.

    Work FOR reforms already.

    How would you know if what you say you observe actually occur or not (short of Hamas denunciations)? How would you notice is reforms have occurred or not?

    And, how do you accept corruption in Israeli politics, while condemning it in Palestinian? Look at the lists of officials.

  21. “What the Goldstone report does, along with all the machinations is this. It says to the average Israeli in the street that Israel has NO right of self defense. none.”

    So, in your opinion, the average Israeli in the streets is an incredible cretin? Because, you know, that’s not what the report actually says at all.

  22. When Israeli officers can get hauled before the ICC. and Hamas walks away. What are you saying to the average Israeli. Why should he allow hamas, backed by a soon to be nuclear Iran. To dominate the west back ridge line. fire rockets at him. And the IDF, according to the world, should grin and bear it. Enlighten me, you too Dan.

  23. Y. Ben-David said a lot of what I was going to say in #5, especially on the distinction between desiring a peace agreement and desiring peace. Here’s a question that apparently never gets asked in polls of Palestinians, though: “In the event of a final peace agreement which provides for a Palestinian state in exchange for full recognition of Israel, would you support the State of Palestine in its violent suppression of Palestinian militias who insist on continuing the armed struggle to liberate all of Palestine, even if that were to lead to civil war?”

    Bottom line: it doesn’t matter too much if the majority of Palestinians want a peace agreement, or even if they want peace. What matters is whether the Palestinian state will have the will and the power to defeat militias like Hamas, probably supported by Iran and/or Syria, who insist on continuing the armed struggle for the complete liberation of Palestine.

    You might remember that this was one of the main premises of the Oslo agreements. The PA was to suppress Hamas and other rejectionists, “without having to worry about the Supreme Court or Betzelem”, as Rabin put it. Fooled me once, shame on you…

  24. Let me address several things here:

    “Oh, but will the Palestinian state clamp down on terrorism?”

    Short answer: Yes. Evidence: Current state of affairs on the West Bank. Further supporting thoughts: Once they have their state, Palestinian leadership will have a lot to lose – namely, said state – by not containing terrorism.
    Conclusion: This objection is irrelevant.

    “Why could Israeli officials be tried at the ICC while Hamas members couldn’t? It’s so unfair!”

    Is Israel an internationally recognized state? Yes. Into whose primary jurisdiction fall IDF war crimes, then? Israel.
    Is Hamas-ruled Gaza an internationally recognized state or part of one? No. Whose primary jurisdiction, then, for their war crimes? The occupying power’s, in this case: Israel.

    Has Israel itself shown actual willingness to prosecute (if you can all it that) crimes by Hamas members? One cannot say “yes” strongly enough.
    Has Israel shown actual willingness to prosecute members of its own military for war crimes? Not really.

    You see, the ICC is a subsidiary court. In principle, it only operates where lower jurisdictions have failed. It’s up to Israel’s system of justice to correct its previous failures. (And, to make this clear to Richard Witty, not by having a long, thoughtful reflection about the matter over a nice cup of tea, but by putting people behind bars for war crimes.)

    “Should the IDF just sit back and let rockets rain down on us?”

    No, they should just observe the rules of war. I don’t know how it is in Israel criminal law, but “self-defense” does not excuse *everything*.
    Nor does it in international law. There are very clear laws regulating what you can and cannot legally do in war, no matter if the war itself is legal or illegal. The above argument mixes ius ad bellum with ius in bello, which are two different things.

  25. Koshiro-
    I see you are repeating the tired old cliche “the Palestinians will have a lot to lose when they have a state if they continue to allow terrorism. Poppycock-because their goal is NOT to get a state but to eradicate Israel, and if, G-d forbid, they should get a state, they would view it as merely another platform in which to carry out attacks on Israel, from possibly a stronger position. In any event, they really DON’T want a state because if they had one, they might have to act more “responsibly” as a member of the international community, so the current non-state situation is probably preferable…they get the financial handouts (another world for “jizya” dhimmi tax from the dhimmis in the US and EU) and they can then turn around and say “we can’t crack down on terrorism…we don’t have a state”!

    I recall in 1999-2000 many people were predicted there would be an explosion of violence by the Palestinians, but , at the same time, there was a big investment in tourism infrastructure in order to cash in on the wave of pilgrims coming for the turn of the century event. New buildings including hotels and the such were going up. I recall some major “peace camp” spokesman dismissing the warnings of violence by pointing out all the investment in tourism infrastructure. He said something like “do you think Arafat would endanger all this investment by making a war”. In the end, he did.

  26. Yes, yes, and all the Palestinians who favor the two-state-solution in polls are lying, right? And all the Palestinian politicians who favor it are also lying, of course. And you just know this because of your fabled Zio-Powers which enable you to read the minds of those lying Arabs – naturally.

    Spare me.

    What “tourism infrastructure” has to do with a state, I don’t know. In fact, the Palestinian leadership as well as the public have made it clear that they do not want to accept a few economic bones thrown to them as a substitute for democratic and human rights. But lemme guess: You read their mind on this, too, and thus know better?

  27. Koshiro-
    Polls, polls, polls……what about the “right of return”? They insist on it along with their supposed “2-state solution”.

  28. “Yes, yes, and all the Palestinians who favor the two-state-solution in polls are lying, right? And all the Palestinian politicians who favor it are also lying, of course. And you just know this because of your fabled Zio-Powers which enable you to read the minds of those lying Arabs – naturally.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong…I might be mistaking your views with some else’s. But aren’t you a proponent of one state?

    Why go in that direction when citing a Palestinian poll favoring 2 state?

  29. “But aren’t you a proponent of one state?”
    Not really.
    But even if I was, what would that have to do with putting right obviously unproven and disproven fantasies about what the Palestinians want? In my world, facts are not subservient to dogma.

  30. Koshiro,
    Am I accurate in describing you as “knowing what you don’t want, but not knowing what you do want”?

  31. Koshiro, unlike most statehood advocates, actually addresses the question of the Palestinian state clamping down on terrorism. His answer, that the PA is suppressing terrorism in the West Bank, is unconvincing though. For one thing, Hamas has a base of operations in Gaza, as a result of the Israeli withdrawal. The PA didn’t suppress Hamas and Islamic Jihad too well there. Also, some analysts, including some Arabs, say that the only thing preventing a Hamas takeover of the West Bank is the IDF’s presence there. So while Abbas may have the will to suppress terrorism, he doesn’t have the power. Until there’s a sea-change in Palestinian attitudes, no state will have that kind of power.

    Koshiro’s other reply, the “something to lose” argument, was decisively refuted in the 1990s (though it was obviously bogus even before it was refuted empirically). The Palestinians had something to lose – the PA, Area A, the promise of more – and they continued their use of terrorism as a tactic. The Palestinians know that they won’t lose their state, short of their detonating an atomic bomb in Tel Aviv. That’s the whole idea behind low-intensity warfare.

  32. @ Aaron
    1.) “Terrorism in the West Bank” is irrelevant to this. Thoroughly, totally and decisively irrelevant. It wouldn’t be Israel’s business. The only question would whether terrorism in Israel could be prevented.

    2.) I don’t know if you follow the news, but Israeli security forces only very recently withdrew from areas which were supposed to be under full PA control – since the 1990s! In other words, no, the Palestinians did not have anything to lose in terms of sovereignty, since they had none. None at all. (I also must have missed some 1.5th intifada or lived in different 90s.)

    3.) What do you think about asking Israelis the following question, btw: “In the event of a final peace agreement which provides for a Palestinian state in exchange for full recognition of Israel, would you support the State of Israel in its violent suppression of Jewish settlers who insist on continuing the armed struggle to settle all of the Land of Israel, even if that were to lead to civil war?”
    And what’s your answer?

    @ Richard
    No. Am I accurate in describing you as “incapable of understanding and explaining a political concept without endorsing it”?

    This should really be a webforum. I need a rolleye smiley.

  33. I’m assuming by your retort that you know what you want, what you propose.

    What is that?

    Or, did I hear you wrong, and you were really saying that you don’t know even what you object to?

  34. @ Koshiro

    1. Of course I meant the same thing you meant: the PA preventing terrorists in the West Bank from operating against Israel. And my point stands: Hamas and Islamic Jihad already have a base of operation in Gaza, which the PA was powerless to prevent. IDF stays in West Bank: quiet. IDF leaves Gaza: not quiet.

    2. As you know, the PA got control over significant territory, plus state-like institutions, from the 1990s, along with the expectation of some form of statehood at the end of the negotiations. (That’s certainly what Israelis expected to come out of it, anyway.) That “something to lose” didn’t stop the PA from using terrorism as a tactic, because they knew that Israel was constrained in how it could respond to low-intensity attacks.

    3. Obviously the vast majority of Israelis would support that, if it meant a true land-for-peace deal. And the settler movement is, contrary to popular myth, so politically weak that it would take less than a civil war for the state to suppress any resistance. It’s common knowledge that most Israelis resent the “settlers” anyway. I don’t know why my personal answer matters, but since you ask: I would enthusiastically support the state’s violent suppression of armed resistance by Israelis in the event of a land-for-peace deal.

    I’m leaving the last word to you. Again, good for you for actually addressing these questions.

  35. 1. These are quite obviously not the same thing. If there were a Palestinian state in the West Bank, there would be a *border*. And supervision of this border would largely be the key of preventing West Bank-based terrorism in Israel.

    2. The PA did not, does not, and for the forseeable future will not have sovereign control over *any* territory. It has about as much “control”, currently, as the Vichy government, post-November 1942, had over French territory. The best Israel has ever offered to them is similar to Vichy France, pre-November 1942.
    By the way, I was obviously too subtle: Which terrorism between 1993 and 2000 do you refer to?

    3. I did not ask you what the answer would hypothetically be. I proposed asking this in polls because it is a precondition to true peace, isn’t it? Funny how this question never gets asked in polls. Obviously the Israelis don’t desire true peace until it is.

  36. You know Witty it’s kind of fascinating that over at your boys blog, “mondoweiss” your seen has some sort of stern gang / siccarri type of guy. Pretty ironic don’t you think? But maybe that just shows the type of person that your boy and his little sidekick Horowitz like to appeal to. On the other hand I’ve seen Phil and if I ever saw a guy confused about his orientation, it’s him>

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