RubinReports | By Barry Rubin
Several students from Students for Justice in Palestine have just written a letter to the university newspaper. They asked why Jewish students on campus weren’t open to a more moderate pro-two-state solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. I will tell you the secret of why that is.
First of all, Israel has a great deal of experience, in fact, repeat experience for 50 years. Israel had many experiences that prove that the Palestinian leadership and the great majority of Palestinians are not interested in a long-term two-state solution. This is both in terms of Hamas and in terms of the Palestinian Authority. There have been tens of thousands of cases that show that both organizations want to destroy Israel.
True, Israel often wanted to give them a chance — indeed, from 1983 to 1993, it certainly tried. I remember clearly on the day the Oslo agreement was signed, I reached out to shake the hand of a Fatah official, who (even then) reluctantly accepted. Three years later, I stood on the street corner watching ambulances race to the scene of a bus terrorist attack, which was not condemned by the PA. In fact, out of many thousands of articles, I can only remember one when a PA official, a military commander, explained why terrorism was really bad for the PA.
Once at a private dinner with a PA official (who later became a PA foreign minister), he said Arafat was stupid for not agreeing to a compromise two-state solution.
Again, even many liberal and left-of-center Israelis know that peace and a two-state solution are not going to happen, at least not without a major ongoing strategic threat to Israel and also terrorism.
Certainly there are those individuals and groups open to peace with Israel, but these are mostly Turks, Kurds, Lebanese, Jordanians, Egyptians, Iranians, North African Arabs, Berbers, some Christian Arabs, and Druze.
In addition, Israel has not been given real security by the UN and Europe and most recently the United States. It has no reason to feel secure even in the furthest extent of concessions that Israel can afford to make.
Even if one is sincere, it appears there is no comprehension of what conditions Israel is facing nor of the hostility to ever accept Israel. This shows a lack of understanding of the structural situation. There is no concept or understanding of the situation, nor is any informed advice offered, yet such people want to risk the lives of Israelis.
This is ludicrous. Maybe one will come to understand in the future how ridiculous this is or perhaps this is known already.
If you would like to see into the future, here is what I predict:
- Hamas will continue the violent conflict and stage as many episodes of violence as possible, even if a future state of Palestine doesn’t want to. Hamas will commit terrorist acts, and the government of Palestine will not do much to stop this or punish them.
- Whenever a future Palestinian state indulges in violence, it will do so with state support. If Fatah or other government coalition groups engage in terrorism, it the state will usually do nothing to stop it and will deny it.
- The West and Europe will usually ignore violence because they want to pretend and suggest the peace process really worked.
It is unfortunately that this is true since the overwhelming majority of Israelis would prefer to have peace.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His next book, “Nazis, Islamists and the Making of the Modern Middle East,” written with Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, will be published by Yale University Press in January 2014. His latest book is “Israel: An Introduction,” also published by Yale. Thirteen of his books can be read and downloaded for free at the website of the GLORIA Center including “The Arab States and the Palestine Conflict,” “The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East” and “The Truth About Syria.” His blog is Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at PJMedia.