25 July 2015

How to Cure a Disastrous Self-inflicted Diplomatic Wound

July 25 2015

How to Cure a Disastrous Self-Inflicted Diplomatic Wound

The Hidden Dilemma of Final Status Negotiations

Currently, the issue of negotiations with the Palestinians is not at the forefront of diplomatic activity and there is no indication that negotiations are imminent. PA President Abbas has set preconditions for talks which are unacceptable to Israel and this makes PM Netanyahu’s offer of talks without preconditions unacceptable to the Palestinians.  

But neither party can be confident that this diplomatic limbo will last forever.  
Outside pressures will once again provide the key impetus to renewed talks. Israel will then be subject to a major hidden obstacle that will completely nullify any diplomatic advantage expected by its participation. 
The hidden obstacle is that years of peace talks, interim agreements, on-off negotiations, recriminations over settlements, disputes over land-swaps, prisoner releases, and so on, have all reinforced the idea that a win-win approach to resolving the conflict is normal and possible.  As a result, the Palestinian rejection of the Jewish state is obscured from view.  Yet this is the rock against which all peace attempts crash.  

Therefore, by participating in final status talks as if the PA, or any other Palestinian body, were willing or able to agree to the necessary compromise to end the conflict, Israel’s diplomacy has the disastrous effect of hiding the Palestinian zero-sum approach behind the appearance of a win-win process. This conceals from the international public that the Palestinian/Arab rejection is the driving force of the conflict and the insurmountable obstacle to a genuine 2-state solution (see The Israeli Demand That Palestinians Accept Israel as a Jewish State).  

This appearance is compounded by the inevitable failure of the fake final status talks.  Without producing an agreement for a full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank or an agreement for a Palestinian state, the widespread belief is reinforced that Israel is to blame for denying Palestinian self-determination.  As a result, Israel is viewed as the obstacle to peace.  This solidifies international hostility, fosters criticism of Israel from the Jewish diaspora and fuels BDS activities.